Pema Levy for Mother Jones:
Ted Cruz on Saturday evening defended a mailer sent out by his campaign that has been criticized by Iowa’s secretary of state as “misleading” and a violation of “the spirit of the Iowa caucuses.”
“I will apologize to no one for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote,” Cruz said, speaking to reporters before a rally in Sioux City, Iowa.
Earlier Saturday, the Cruz campaign came under fire for sending out a mailer, with the look of an official state document, that warns of a “voting violation.” It informs voters they are receiving the notice “because of low expected voter turnout in your area” and says a “follow-up notice” may arrive after the Iowa caucuses.
I’ve been getting questions about the legality of the Cruz mailer.
There is no federal law barring generally misleading campaign speech. There are laws against intimidating voters, but I don’t think that’s what it is.
The alternative would be some kind of claim of common law fraud (a tort), but this could well be a stretch.
There are also first amendment issues related to regulating misleading campaign speech.
Unless there’s something specific in Iowa law making this illegal (and unless such a law is constitutional), I think this kind of mailer is allowed.