Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Mark Green's long and winding road

Mark Green ended up in the right place today on the question of disposing of $31,000-plus in tainted money from the indicted ex-Republican Majority Leader, Tom DeLay. He is going to get rid of it. How is complicated, but no matter; he won't use DeLay's $31,000 to campaign.

But getting to the decision to rid himself of the money was a long, torturous trip.

Wisconsin Democrats began asking Green to dispose of the money last September.

Green and his campaign manager, Mark Graul, responded with a series of changing stories about the money.

Sept. 29 Journal Sentinel: "If we wrote a check to 'Tom DeLay for Congress,' we'd be in violation" of federal law, which sets limits on the size of gifts to federal campaign committees," Graul said. Also, Graul said, "that money has been since spent, so there is no contribution to return."

Oct 2, Green Bay Press Gazette: Green says he only transfered $2,000 of DeLay's money into his governor's campaign account, so the most he could give back is $2,000.

Oct. 2, Appleton Post Crescent: “The fact of the matter is, I don’t have a federal account anymore,” said Green, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor in the September 2006 primary. “And as we understand it, it would actually be illegal to do what they are calling for.” [The truth was that he did have a federal account at the time, which wasn't terminated until Dec. 19, FEC records show.

Oct 11, Wisconsin State Journal: "While he said Green may return the $2,000, [Graul]rejected Democrats' calls to donate the balance of the $30,000 to a voter registration effort. "We need the money to beat Jim Doyle," Graul said.
We've said all along, in a dozen or more posts on the subject, that other members of Congress were coming up with creative ways to rid themselves of the DeLay money, and that Green could do the same if he really wanted to.

It turns out that was true. It just took more than three months of inctreasing pressure, capped by the Jack Abramoff conviction, to get Green to do what he should have -- and could have -- done in the first place. Carrie Lynch points out on her What's Left blog that Green blames the state for making him keep the money, a bogus claim.

Now, what about that $25,000 Rep. Paul Ryan took from DeLay? It's in a federal account, and it would be much easier to return it or give it to charity, as a number of other Republican members of the House have done. Ryan is mentioned as an up-and-comer who could be a leader in the House some day. Why would he want to keep that money? Perhaps now, with Green's decision to finally do the right thing, someone will ask Paul Ryan what's stopping him.

Mark Graul's not off the hook yet either. We'll get to that later.


At 8:16 PM, Blogger working stiff said...

Xoff I wouldn't get to high and mighty over the whole contributions to Republicans tussle. First of all the Delay money hasn't been deemed illegal yet. I'm sure you remember the concept of innocent until proven guilty concept. I know your hero Jim Doyle would be the first to remind you of it.


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