In a case that could spark additional complaints in the future, the Florida Elections Commission has found probable cause that Jay Beskin, a former Aventura City Commissioner, broke the law last fall when he challenged incumbent Sally Heyman for a spot on the Miami-Dade County Commission. He could face a fine up to $1,000 if the charge is ultimately upheld.
Beskin's alleged campaign violation? Failing to include closed captioning on his 30-second television ads, and then failing to file a statement that explained why his ads did not include closed captioning. Who pointed out that Beskin's ads couldn't be understood by the hearing impaired? Well, that would be Heyman herself.
Mark Herron, a Tallahassee lawyer who handles election law cases, said this was the first time he had ever heard of anyone getting charged with breaking the law regarding closed-caption ads because the law allows people to waive the requirement by filing a form. Even the company that did the ads for Beskin said that most campaign ads they did during the 2006 campaign season did not include closed captioning. And it turns out that Beskin's campaign consultant noticed that the ads did not have closed captioning and had the original ads replaced with ones that did five days after the first ad ran.