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A Fraudulent Ad Puts The Commercial Dispatch in the NRA's Sights

The road to the much sought after House of Representatives District 39 seat is proving to be anything but uneventful.

In the Sunday edition of The Commercial Dispatch, the daily newspaper ran an ad placed by House of Representatives hopeful Jack Larmour. The ad appears to be a copy of a letter sent to Larmour by the National Rifle Association. The ad claims that Larmour received an “A+ rating and endorsement for the 2011 Primary Election.” However, the NRA did not give Larmour an A+ rating nor did they endorse him and the organization is claiming that the ad was a fraud. Furthermore, NRA State Liaison Tara Reilly Mica states that not only are they not endorsing Larmour, but are endorsing his opponent, incumbent Jeff Smith and have been since day one.

As is customary in an election year, the NRA will send letters to candidates who request a rating from the organization. According to Mica, their ratings system is based on how well they feel candidates uphold the 2nd amendment. Mica says that both Smith and Larmour requested a rating and Smith received an “A+” rating and the endorsement for the primary election while Larmour received an “A” rating.  Smith placed an ad with the Dispatch the week of June 13th, the week he received his endorsement. Larmour placed an ad this past Sunday, July 3rd, after receiving his endorsement June 21st. The glaring difference between the two ads is the signature on the bottom. Mica personally signs every endorsement letter and the signature between the two letters appears to be grossly different. So not only is the Larmour ad claiming a false rating and endorsement but the signature is allegedly fraudulent as well. However, the Larmour camp is claiming this was all a misunderstanding.

While Larmour could not be reached for comment, his wife Nancy told The Packet that she had spoken with Dispatch editor Birney Imes and he claimed that the graphic designer had mistakenly altered the letter.

Mrs. Larmour further laments: “We turned in a scanned copy of the letter to The Dispatch to print as is. He added things to it and forged this woman’s name down at the bottom. It is a horrible mistake and puts Jack and I in a very bad situation. This was no fault of ours.”

Imes also told The Packet that a graphic designer had altered the letter, adding “he must have confused it with Jeff Smith’s.”

When asked if he felt that running the ad twice could be seen as giving an advantage to Larmour, Imes responded with “It was just the best way to correct the mistake. Regardless…it just happened to be a political ad. We always do a make good.”

He continued by saying “The Larmour’s seemed to act in good faith towards us and without making a huge deal about it, we ran a corrected ad.”

All of this has the NRA seeing red. Mica said she also contacted Imes and was also told that the graphic designer had altered the letter by mistake. The liaison then stated that she failed to understand how a scanned letter could not only include a false endorsement but a forging of her signature and several grammatical errors as well. When she demanded the egregious error be corrected, Mica says Imes assured her he would run a corrected ad.

To that Mica exclaimed to The Packet: “Simply running a corrected ad and not addressing the blatant misrepresentation of our position in the race as well as taking responsibility for fraudulently creating a signature on an official NRA document is not my version of a correction. It’s unacceptable for any kind of reputable publication.”

When asked is she and her husband had in fact approved the ad before it printed in Sunday’s paper Mrs. Lamour responded with “We looked at the beginnings of the proof and it looked like the scanned letter. Do you read everything that you’ve scanned? Next time we’ll make sure we check every word in there. We had nothing to do with the way the wording was. The damage was done but we feel like we’ve taken care of it. I’m not in the habit of matching up every word in a scanned publication that I paid for. I will now.”

While there are some conflicting reports about whether the Larmour’s were going to bring attention to the erroneous ad or not, Mrs. Larmour claimed “I was in Birney’s office at 8:30 am on Tuesday morning to get this straightened out.” [The Commercial Dispatch was closed Monday because of the July 4th holiday. SF]

It is unclear if Mrs. Larmour went to the Commercial Dispatch before or after the NRA’s liaison called both the Dispatch and the Larmour’s to alert them of the error.  Mica stated that she will be contacting the NRA headquarters and letting them take it from there. She maintained that “The important thing is that our position in the race be clarified for our members in that district. I think Jeff Smith deserves some justice too. Especially if they’re going to end up running an ad twice for his opponent.”

The primary election between Larmour and Smith is August 2nd.

The letter sent to Jack Larmour from the NRA

The letter sent to Jeff Smith from the NRA

The ad that appeared in The Commercial Dispatch.

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9 comments

  1. KJ

    Wow…this is egregious. A paper made a mistake?!?! Obviously it’s a conspiracy and an attempt to weaken the 2nd amendment. And correcting the mistake doubles the problem. Now instead of complaining that the paper did nothing to correct the error we have to complain that it acted to clear things up.

  2. Pingback: HD39: Who Is Endorsing Who « Majority In Mississippi

  3. Oliver

    I don’t know about KJ, but changed words that are the heart of the letter and outright fraud matter to me. I guess integrity in your candidates and paper don’t matter to KJ, but hey do to me. Thank you Sarah for letting us know about all of this and giving us the facts

  4. Smitty

    Me too Sarah, thank you for bringing this out in the open. We’ve been dealing with “curious and coincidental mishaps” like this for sometime in the area. They always seem to lower in number when they are brought out into the light of day.

  5. KJ

    It’s pretty obvious from looking at the letters and the typeset ad that the chain of events as described by the paper is not only plausible but probable. The mistake should have been caught during proofreading but clients are notoriously crappy proofreaders.

  6. Joe

    Crappy proofreaders is the excuse? Give me a break! Would Larmour’s wife use that as his excuse if he voted for a bill that was awful? I mean, come on, that just makes him look completely incompetent. After all, a candidate is always responsible for what his campaign puts out as required by Mississippi law. I don’t know if law doesn’t matter to the Larmour camp, but the scary part is he is campaigning for a position that makes law!

  7. KJ

    I didn’t offer it as an excuse. I happen to hate the fact that clients don’t proofread adequately and I hate it even more when, failing to adequately proof their job, they demand costly reprints. However, the paper’s story about how the mistake came to be published is very plausible. Having done similar work in a similar environment, I know it’s easy to sometimes get jobs mixed up–especially if the wording is very close but not exactly the same. It would be a much different kind of mistake if what was published was an actual manipulated scan of the letter rather than a typeset from scratch version of the letter. That’s the only point I’m making. I’ll leave judgements about the efficacy of the Larmour campaign to ya’ll.

  8. Joe

    Well, it just seems funny to me that Larmour’s wife said they turned in an actual scan of the letter, not a scratch version of the letter. In my experience, you can’t add to or take away from a scan of a letter, especially if it is a JPEG or PDF file which is probably what the scan was. By that line of reasoning, it would be hard to see this “mistake” as anything but deliberate fraud since that is how the Larmours turned it in to the Dispatch.

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