Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cute GOP trick may undermine Green's case

So the Republican Party says it will file a complaint with the State Elections Board against Tom Barrett, who moved his money from a federal campaign to his governor's campaign in 2001, with the blessings -- or at least the non-enforcement -- of the elections board.

Well, swell. Maybe I should sign on. I tried in 2000 to do something about it, and the Doyle campaign tried again in 2001.

I certainly welcome the idea that at the same time Congressman Green is in court, arguing that it is perfectly legal for him to keep the $468,000 in dirty federal PAC money, that Green's party will be filing a complaint arguing that it's illegal.

I'm no lawyer, as any number of lawyers will attest, but it seems to me that might tend to undermine Green's case just a tad.

Here's the story on the GOP's latest lunacy. I say, Bring it on!
GOP complains about Barrett's cash move

Madison - Republican Party of Wisconsin officials said today they will file a formal complaint with the state Elections Board that makes this point: If Mark Green's transfer of $1.3 million from his Congressional account to his state campaign fund in 2005 was illegal, so was a similar move of more than $700,000 by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2001.

In 2001, Barrett -- like Green today -- was a member of Congress campaigning for governor. He lost the Democratic primary to Gov. Jim Doyle, however, who is being challenged by Green on Nov. 7.

Last week, the state Elections Board ordered that Green's campaign divest itself of $467,844 in political action committee donations from groups not registered in Wisconsin. The $467,844 was part of the $1.3 million the Republican candidate moved to his state campaign account one day before the Elections Board changed the rules to say only money given by Wisconsin PACs can be used by candidates for governor.

The Green campaign continued today to study whether to sue first to block the board's order, or wait and respond when the state Justice Department tries to enforce the order.

In a statement, the GOP said it wants the Elections Board to use the standard it set in the Green case to reconsider its approval of the Barrett transfer.

UPDATE: Speaking of cute tricks, AG Peg Lautenschlager either is blinded by politics or doesn't know the first thing about campaign finance laws, based on this totally bogus story:
Lautenschlager accuses Falk of improper campaign donations

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- State Justice Department attorneys have agreed to represent the state Elections Board as it tries to force Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Green to give up $468,000 in campaign donations the board contends were illegally transferred.

But Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager said she won't handle any day-to-day decisions in the matter because the board's actions might affect the finances of her opponent in Tuesday's Democratic primary.

Lautenschlager's campaign on Thursday accused Kathleen Falk of improperly moving about $3,500 from her campaign fund as the Dane County executive to her attorney general fund...

He insisted Falk has done nothing wrong. State law governs contributions to the county account, rendering it a state account that was simply renamed for her attorney general race, Collins said.

"Every single one of these contributions were and are legal," Collins said. "She's just trying to get herself a nice story."

Spokesmen for the state Ethics Board and state Elections Board also said Falk's transfer of funds did not appear to involve any rule violations.
That's because Lautenschlager is trying to compare apples and kumquats. The issue with Green is moving federal PAC money from a federal account to a state account. State candidates who choose to run for another, higher state office -- a state rep for state senator, AG for governor, alderman for mayor, etc -- simply change the name of their committees, since the money they raised was already done under state campaign rules. If Lautenschlager doesn't know that, she should find another job.


At 7:01 PM, Blogger tom47 said...

The state GOP is the gang that could not shoot straight. Let me see if I understand this "Green is right, Doyle is wrong, and Barrett is wrong -- how oh how can that be?

At 7:42 PM, Blogger Paul_Robeson said...

On a day when Doyle gets all kinds of great coverage regarding the child-care tax break, Green attacks . . . Tom Barrett? Excellent strategy.

At 7:55 PM, Blogger Sherman said...

I'm still waiting for a news release saying that Congressman Green will kick and scream on the floor and if that doesn't work he'll hold his breath until he gets his way.

Most voters think all politicians are corrupt at some level, but they will not tolerate a sore loser.

At 8:29 PM, Blogger Randy said...

So, what is the punishment if he fails to comply with the Elections Board's findings?

At 8:53 PM, Blogger Dave Diamond said...

J.B. Van Hollen will tell Green that he sucks.

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Paul_Robeson said...

Does anyone have thoughts on Peg's decision not to represent the EB b/c the case purportedly might impact Falk campaign $ transfers?

It seems awfully transparent to me, at least at first glance. It almost looks like she's deliberately shirking her duties in order to score points against Falk. (At least that's my gut reponse.)

At 8:52 AM, Blogger Dad29 said...

I think that filing a complaint against Barrett is utterly stupid.

Both Barrett and Green complied with all the laws and regs.

At 10:16 AM, Blogger J-Rad said...

I think this won't help Green in the least. Here's the worst case scenario, the elections board makes Barrett pay his non-state PAC money back too. There goes the double standard argument right out the window.

Green is in a catch-22, no matter what he does, he loses ground and, more importantly, time.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Paul_Robeson said...

Thanks for the update re: Peg, xoff.

To, what she's doing with this (not representing the EB for spurious but politically advantageous reasons) is much worse than the drunk driving episode.

At 11:43 AM, Blogger tom47 said...

Tut Tut Xoff,

One should not make assumptions or statements based upon media stories that are incomplete.

Peg is not challenging all of the transfers from Falk's Co Ex race only those from lobbyists that are prohibited to give prior to June of an election year (yeah it is a stupid rule but it is a rule.) and those that exceed the $10,000 4 year limit.

Close call in both cases. If I be the judge I rule out the Lobbyists contributions and OK the $2,000 in excess of the $10,000. It will turn on the details.


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