Friday, January 27, 2006

Helping Green do the right thing

Is Rep. Steve Freese trying to do Mark Green a favor, and help him find a way to get rid of the $30,000 in Tom DeLay money that's still sitting in his campaign account?

Or is he trying to highlight the DeLay money and help Scott Walker?

Whatever his motive, Freese is introducing a bill to clear the way for Green to get rid of that money. Green says he wants to dispose of the tainted dough, but not badly enough to give it to a non-partisan voter education and registration program, which he could legally do right now.

Freese's memo correctly points out that federal law already allows campaigns to give money to charity. Rep. Paul Ryan, for example, could dispose of the $25,000 in DeLay money sitting in his account. He says he'll get rid of it if DeLay's convicted, and does not seem under the same pressure that Green is -- probably because Ryan doesn't have a competitive race.

Ryan first said the money was already spent, but most recently took the "dump upon conviction" position. He did give back some really embarrassing money he had gotten directly from convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, but has gotten a pass from the media on the DeLay money, ,even though Green says he will get rid of his $30,000 -- someday.

Freese's memo:


To: All Legislators

From: Rep. Steve Freese

Date: January 26, 2006

Re: Co-sponsorship of LRB-4371/1, relating to authorization for registrants under the campaign finance law to make donations to charitable organizations or the common school fund from campaign treasuries. I am introducing legislation that is similar to federal campaign finance law allowing campaign treasures to make donations from their respective campaign account to either a charitable organization or the common school fund for any reason at any time.

Currently, a registrant is generally prohibited from making a disbursement from moneys solicited for political purposes for a purpose that is other than political. From time to time our campaigns are called upon to make charitable donations that would benefit various entities. This bill will allow such contributions. The analysis by the LRB can be found below. If you would like to co-sponsor LRB-4371/1, please contact the office of Rep. Freese at 6-7502 by February 1, 2006

Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau

Currently, with certain exceptions, a registrant under the campaign finance law is general prohibited from making a disbursement expenditure) from moneys solicited fro political purposes for a purpose that is other than political. However, a registrant that receives a contribution from an unregistered nonresident, an unlawful corporate contribution, an anonymous contribution exceeding $10, or a cash contribution exceeding $0 may donate the contribution to a charitable organization r to the state common school, fund. In addition, residual moneys in a campaign treasury when a registrant ceases financial activity may be treated likewise.

This bill provides that a registrant may make a donation from a campaign treasury to a charitable organization or to the common school fund at any time for any reason.


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