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Next on Fox: 24 Hour Coverage of P. Diddy v. the Federal Electoral Commission

From a rather bizarre and pointless article on National Review, in which it is revealed that The National Law and Policy Center filed a complaint on November 3 claiming that P. Diddy/Puff Daddy/Sean "Puffy" Combs/The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man violated the Federal Election Campaign Act and the Internal Revenue Code with his "Vote or Die" campaign. The complaint is here.

Lopez: "Vote or Die" is so..2004. Why go after it now?

Flaherty: We were aware of the violations when they occurred. But frankly, my staff has better things to do than worry about Diddy. The complaint was filed after the NAACP Legal Defense Fund decided to give Diddy a "special award" on November 3 for the Vote or Die! campaign. I want the underscore how badly the civil-rights movement has lost its way.

Mr. Flaherty, let's hope your staff still has better things to do.

Lopez: Do you believe this was part of some kind of coordinated attempt to defeat Bush? Dare I say it? A Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy, perhaps?

Flaherty: I believe Diddy's goal was to call attention to himself, or perhaps his clothing line. The campaign itself was largely a joke. The republic was never in danger.

That's a relief, then. Dad, you can put away the army rifle, Democracy is safe from the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio (for now).

Lopez: You're not just trying to make the National Legal and Policy Center look cooler by appearing in wire stories with the artist formerly known as Puff Daddy?

Flaherty:I don't consider Diddy cool. Even when he was an artist, he would sample someone else's hit, and then try to make it his own.

He also never had much more to say than, "The Notorious B.I.G., great gansta that he was, died like a gangsta. He got shot. This makes Puffy saaaaaad." He just said it to a beat. But whatever I think of The Puff Man's lack of creative direction, filing FEC complaints against him goes beyond gilding the lily. Is there a phrase for trying to add stink to a dead fish?

Lopez: The bigger question seems to me: Is anyone on record as having died because they did not vote? Isn't this the kind of false advertising in politics we could all do without? What would Tocqueville think?

Flaherty: The Vote or Die t-shirts cost $30 each. They were retailed at 59 clothing and department stores in 21 states and D.C. We have asked the FEC to examine whether this wasn't just a scheme to sell t-shirts, or to generally call attention to Diddy's clothing endeavor.

I channelled Alexis de Tocqueville this evening. (Incidentally, the great man informed me that he now goes by the moniker "The Nefarious Lex D. T.") After I explained the complaint to him, he thought he needed a strong beer and a whiskey chaser.

NLPC Newsflash: celebrities seek self-promotion. Just as lawyers sell lawyering and plumbers sell plumbing, celebrities sell celebre. If the PowerPuff Boy weren't putting himself in the public eye and trying to shift shirts, he wouldn't be doing his job.

Now, I'll give NLPC this much. It's possible Puffy broke some of our notoriously complex election laws. But we won the election, and if the NAACP Legal Defense Fund wants to give him an award, let's just let them, OK? Mr. Flaherty, if Sean Puffy Combs must spend one evening eating rubber chicken and picking up Teddy "Mack" Shaw's* bling-bling,** it's one more evening he's not doing a live show on some channel we might otherwise want to watch. Why would you deprive us of such peace?

*Theodore M. Shaw is,of course, both President of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and a Columbia alum, which means he might answer the most pertinent question regarding this entire mess: what did the award look like? Was it going to look good on the Puffmeister's mantle, next to that preposterous golden spaceman from MTV?

**This entire post is proof that I probably shouldn't stray so far from my normal patois.


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