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Investigative Report Questions U-T San Diego Political Ad Policies

According to a report by Amita Sharma and Ryann Grochowski for KPBS/inewsource Investigations Desk, it appears that U-T San Diego may have played favorites during last fall’s campaign for city mayor.

Some frustration and general befuddlement from the side of Democratic candidate Tom Filner over the sheer number of attack ads that appeared in print during the campaign has now given way to some apparent public-records confirmation. And that, in turn and if further corroborated, could really get the newspaper in trouble:

“It’s clearly not appropriate for a news organization to make that kind of contribution without reporting it,” said Dan Schnur, former chairman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, now director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the USC.

Schnur is referring to the idea that U-T San Diego might have presented one level of pricing to Filner’s campaign and offered other, more favorable terms elsewhere. Doug Manchester declined to comment, but U-T CEO John Lynch insisted it was all part a “bundle option” made available to all comers.

The KPBS/inewssource report looks into to some similar apparent funny business involving ads run in the paper for Prop 32 and ends with some damning quotes from former Federal Election Commission chairman Trevor Potter. Read the full report, completed with additional reporting help from inewsource investigative assistant Michele Pluss and KPBS intern Betsy Galchutt, here.

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