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Penalty Flag

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It is important to note an insight that threatened to eclipse our considerations in this decision—that is, we have some sincere concerns that Flaherty potentially stepped out-of-bound for election laws, which are straightforward and unbending that an incumbent should not use any resources from his publicly-funded office to support his campaign.

We were first tipped off that Flaherty may be eschewing these rules when The Bulletin reported about an exchange between him and City Club representatives who were trying to arrange a debate, at which they planned to have one of The Bulletin's editors moderate. It is no secret that Flaherty has friction with The Bulletin, and he rightfully bristled at the choice of moderator.

That said, his response was troubling. He sent City Club an email stating: "I invite you to call my assistant Nichole Brown to schedule a time to meet in person with me at your District Attorney's Office. I would be happy to discuss your proposed 'debate' as well as your choice of moderators."

Brown is employed at the DA's office, and clearly he is inviting City Club representatives to the DA's office to discuss campaign matters; an election law no-no.

Our subsequent interactions with Flaherty's campaign showed similar disregard. Emails and phone calls to Flaherty's campaign contact numbers were invariably returned by Brown.

When she informed our Editor Phil Busse that she was calling from the DA's office (and not the campaign office or a cell phone funded by campaign funds), in unwavering terms, Busse told Brown, "I'm not comfortable talking about the campaign with you." Yet, she soldiered forward and tried to set a date for our endorsement interview. In fact, Brown even invited us to tour the DA's office as part of the endorsement interview.

Flaherty has routinely stated that he is not a politician; fair enough. However, this is a legal matter, and in that regard, the DA should be knowledgeable about an easily interpreted law.

Also, interestingly, the day after his endorsement interview with the Source, a "re-elect Flaherty" lawn sign popped up across the street from our offices, on the well-trafficked Bond Street. It is a great spot to catch the attention of lots of traffic, but it is on city property; again, a campaign no-no.

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