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Government Accountability Board to see if they can legally regulate issue ads

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State officials will see if they have the legal authority to regulate some of the nastiest political ads.

The Government Accountability Board told its staff yesterday to draft a rule to be considered in October, which regulates so-called "issue ads."

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They'll also provide guidance on the board's authority. The ads go after a candidate's stands on certain issues and because they don't tell you who to vote for, they don't have to say who pays for the attacks.

Board members say they want to do something, especially after all the nasty ads in the last two State Supreme Court elections.

However, Thomas Cane, panel chairman, says any change must be constitutional.

Among other things, those who take out issue ads might have to say who pays for them. However, at least one attorney says those ads would virtually disappear if that happens and therefore, the government would infringe on free speech.

As a result, there's talk that any new rules would be challenged in court. Board member Gordon Myse tells the Wisconsin State Journal that elections have been compromised by issue ads and he says the threat of a lawsuit should not stop the panel from doing the right thing.

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