Green loses in court; conspiracy continues
Now a circuit court judge has ruled that Congressman Mark Green's transfer of $467,000 in federal special interest money to his campaign for governor was illegal.
Green says he's appealing directly to the State Supreme Court, but will set that money aside in the meantime and not spend it.
In last Thursday's hearing the judge suggested that Green had come into court with "unclean hands" because he had not complied with the Elections Board order to divest himself of the money within 10 days. Putting the money into escrow amounts to washing his hands.
You can read the judge's order yourself. Among other things, he suggested Green had used the wrong avenue to appeal on the board's rule.
But based on one read-through, these seem to be the key paragraphs:
In short, a "donation" under 2 U.S.C. Â§ 439a(a)(5) is a "contribution" subject to the limitations and other regulations contained in Chapter 11 of the Wisconsin statutes governing the use of money in Wisconsin political campaigns. Thus, even if the Court were to adopt Green's argument that the Elections Board should be enjoined from enforcing its Emergency Rule and Order because they are illegal for any number of reasons -- arguments which raise some serious and legitimate questions -- Green still cannot succeed on the ultimate merits of this case because the Court cannot grant the requested declaratory judgment finding "that funds a state campaign committee has on hand when it converts from federal registration are not counted against Wisconsin's contribution limits." (Complaint, paragraph 50) Controlling federal law, through its incorporation of Wisconsin's campaign finance law, in fact compels the opposite finding. ...(Emphasis mine)
For the same reasons that Green cannot demonstrate that he will likely succeed on the merits of the case, he falls short of showing irreparable harm if the temporary injunction is not granted. That is to say, whether the Elections Board is enjoined from enforcing the Emergency Rule and Order or not, Green's duties under the law remain the same. Under 2 U.S.C. 439a(a)(5) and Chapter 11 of the Wisconsin statutes which it incorporates, Green must subject the donation from the federal campaign to the provisions of Wisconsin law governing "contributions" to political campaigns. Thus, at least at this very preliminary stage of the lawsuit where the pleadings are not even complete, it is simply unnecessary for this Court to enter the thorny procedural and constitutional thicket created by the Election Board's actions in promulgating the Emergency Rule and issuing its Order, let alone allow it to sidetrack the Court's decision on Green's Motion for Temporary Injunction. The bottom line is that the Elections Board reached the correct result, regardless of the infirmities, if any, in its process.
Steve Walters of the Journal Sentinel starts the conspiracy theory, noting that the judge was appointed by Gov. Jim Doyle. Walters doesn't note that the original judge assigned to the case was the county's chief judge, Michael Nowakowski -- who was not a Doyle appointee, Green's campaign asked for a replacement, which is how Judge Richard Niess got the case.
UPDATE: Dave Diamond thinks it may be time for Green to move on to another subject.
MORE BAD NEWS? The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, flushed with success, says in its e-mail alert today that it is "researching the issues and evaluating whether to file a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission," which could question almost the entire $1.3-million Green laundered into his gov's campaign, not just the $467,000 in PAC money.
UPDATE: Judge rules against Green; Journal Sentinel forgets to mention it.