Thursday, September 21, 2006

Today's 'expose'

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

People lobby the State Elections Board members to try to persuade them to vote their way.

Not surprised?

The Journal Sentinel thought it was worth the top headline on page one today:
Doyle lawyer urged sanction
He lobbied 3 on Elections Board before Green vote

Madison - A lawyer for Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's campaign repeatedly lobbied three Democratic members of the State Elections Board before they voted with the majority to order Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Green to divest $467,844 in donations from out-of-state political action committees, records show.
Giving it that kind of play, of course, suggests that the paper uncovered some wrongdoing.

You had to read to the 14th paragraph to find this:
[Doyle's lawyer Michael] Maistelman's contacts with the three board members were legal, said board legal counsel George Dunst. Any member of the public, and officials of the Green campaign, could have contacted board members to argue their position before the vote, Dunst said.
"Not that there's anything wrong with that," as Jerry Seinfeld would say.


At 8:48 AM, Blogger GWC shadow said...

So you condone sleazy, mudslugging, untruth campaign tactics. Why shouldn't you, your a Democrat.

At 8:57 AM, Blogger George Roberts said...

This Democrat "condones" a lawyer acting illegally.

But, gmc shadow, I don't condone your incorrect use of a noun as an adjective, nor your use of a pronoun as a conjunction, nor your incorrect punctuation.

And I don't listen to illiterates, as anyone who writes so poorly couldn't read and comprehend the story, anyway.

At 9:06 AM, Blogger Other Side said...

Mudslugging? Untruth?

Either Orwell would be proud, or gwc shadow's high school English teacher is sobbing uncontrollably.

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Bob Thompson said...

No shit the Doyle campaign's lawyer contacted the elections board members. Does anyone really believe the Green campaign's response that no one from their campaign contacted elections board members?

Either the Green campaign is incredibly stupid or that is a carefully worded response. The Doyle campaign could have said the same thing. Apparently, no one from their campaign contacted election board members either, just a lawyer on their behalf.

Why didn't Steve Walters ask the obvious follow up question did anyone from the Republican party or representing you talk to the members of the elections board?

Oh yeah, that answer would have screwed up his story by making it balanced.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Paul_Robeson said...

Thank you, Bob. I was thinking the same thing re: Green.

What I found especially galling is that this non-story got more play in the JS than the revelation that Green apparently also evaded the $10,000 limit on individual donors.

Actual law-breaking is less of a story, apparently . . .

At 9:57 AM, Blogger XOut said...

You kids are missing the larger point – probably by choice. The decision by the SEB was not a routine ruling on a small issue. It was clearly political, partisan and most important – the board retroactively changed the rules.

Legal or not, the communications demonstrate as fact what the rest of all knew. The Democrats on the board wanted to score an orchestrated political victory.

Why this matters most is because the smoking-gun is there for the judge to look at. When the case is laid out and the precedents are reviewed, it will become obvious that this ‘new’ view of PAC money transferred from a federal account had little basis in the law, and was unprecedented.

Legal or not – it was sleazy and the voters in this tight race are not likely to ignore it.

Like it or not – this campaign ploy probably lost your guy an election. Thanks.

At 10:22 AM, Blogger TrueConservative said...

Xout - Are you suggesting Mark Green and his fellow cronies across the state do not look for every angle to win while Doyle should disarm unilaterally? I know today's modern Republican thinks that laws should only apply to commoners or elected Democrats and not their party leaders or chosen special interest groups. Green's refusal to follow the law is no surprise to anyone following his career. Remember how cozy Mark Green is to disgraced Congressman Bob Ney and that Mark Graul (Green's lead man) has been accused of accepting similar gifts from convicted felon Jack Abramhoff

At 11:07 AM, Blogger TRBlog said...

No wonder Jim Doyle is under CRIMINAL investigation.

It also looks like the JS has been distancing itself from Doyle ever since the Georgia Thompson CONVICTION.

I also excuse grammatical errors because I have more important issue to deal with on a daily basis. Bob T. if you can't convert a 64B hex char to decimal you're illiterate!

At 11:32 AM, Blogger Paul_Robeson said...

xout -- You seem to be suggesting that the judge is going to rule in Green's favor because of this "revelation" that there was LEGAL communication between the lawyer and the board. I doubt that very much. As I understand it, the specific legal issue to be addressed will be whether the board exceeded its authority in banning the excessive out-of-state PAC money.

I think it's possible that Green will prevail in court, but it won't be because of this.

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Interloper said...

I don't see that this story has any news value whatsoever. No law or rules were broken. I can't understand the rationale for writing this story let alone placing it on the front page. Strange editorial decisions at the Journal Sentinel for sure.

At 12:52 PM, Blogger XOut said...

The board reversed itself and 30 years of precedent. This revelation does not so much impact the court case. This revelation will further tarnish and expose Doyle for what he is.

And to True(ly confused) Conservative – it is one thing to play politics, it is another to manipulate a public board and the process for political gain. It would appear that you don’t get it at all.

No matter what personal delusions and rationalizations any of you may wish to involve yourselves with; I guarantee that the demeanor inside the Doyle camp is not a happy one. They got caught. The impact will be felt in November – they know it and I know it.

At 1:18 PM, Blogger Erik Opsal said...

Xout - The law has been on the books since 1974. Another decision in 2000 affirmed that money could be transferred from federal to state accounts, but that it had to come from PACs registered in Wisconsin. So he did break the law.

Did anyone else notice the severe misquote in the RPW release? It says this:

He issued a series of e-mails outlining how to rig the vote against Mark Green, including one that talks of his contact with the Doyle campaign about their scheme: "I ran this by the powers that be and was given a "green" light on this idea."

Makes it sound like rigging was given the green light. Actual quote from the email:

Carl suggested that the SEB give Green an opportunity to get the out of state PAC's registered so the SEB looks reasonable. I ran this by the powers that be and was given a "green" light on this idea. We were thinking of giving Green one week to get the out of stat PAC's registered in WI. If not, then the money would need to be divested immediately and he could be fined and referred to the DA.

That actually suggests they were trying to avoid the decision by allowing him to register the PACs late. Something that obviously doesn't point to rigging the decision.

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Dad29 said...

One common thread in all the responses above--

absolutely NO ONE is surprised to know that the Doylies were working hard to stage a "coup."

Too bad the lawyer just couldn't tell the JS reporter the truth, eh?

Xoff--start looking for a new assignment...

At 4:50 PM, Blogger Harry Walker said...

Surprise, the partisan appointees on the elections board communicated with a lawyer occasionally affiliated with one of the campaigns. Jesus, no wonder Green can't get any traction. Hint to the Green Team: fighting to hang on to Washington money and playing insider baseball on the front page of the state's largest paper doesn't do much to make Wisconsin great again.

Not sure who is advising the Green Team, but someone might want to suggest that they try to talk about something other than their Washington campaign donors. Maybe it's just me, but I'm guessing Green's principled stand in defense of the divine right of Washington politicians to do what they please when it comes to campaign cash is not going to move a lot of swing voters.

The more time and effort the Green Team spends talking about their court battle, injunctions, filing lawsuits and what lawyers are up to...well, I'm sure that's just fine with the folks over at the Democrat Party.

At 4:51 PM, Blogger goofticket said...

You need to read the state's brief on Greens lawsuit.
It is glaring in it's fantasy of the law.

And Green's claims his equal protection rights were violated.
Think the ACLU will help him?
They are the ones who forced equal righs protection in the first place.
Go read the PDF posted on that site and see what a whiining little jerk Green really is.

At 4:58 PM, Blogger redvest said...

Dirty politics? Doyle, no. He's such a nice guy. So ethical. Can't wait 'til Hurtgen sings like a canary. Hope he brings down Doyle and all the rest...they have ruined politics in this State.

At 5:28 PM, Blogger Paul_Robeson said...

Good post, Harry.

Green and the GOP are really expending a lot of energy and money on this issue, and it seems more driven out of raw hatred for Doyle (see above) than any kind of coherent campaign strategy. I don't necessarily blame them for trying to smear Doyle (it's slimy, but it's politics), but I think they are doing it at the expense of offering any kind of vision for governing.

At 7:56 PM, Blogger Troy Fullerton said...

I'm no lawyer, so I'll take Doyle's attorney at his word when he said that what he did was completely legal. But that does not mean it was ethical. One of your own, Seth Zlotocha, called it perfectly on his blog when he said that this takes an asset of the Doyle camp and turns it into a liability.

Doyle's tactic all along was to attempt to muddy the waters on ethics by turning this into a 'lesser of two evils' between himself and Green, since the Gov has been mired in ethics scandals for much of his tenure.

With this SEB ruling, it finally gave him something to paint Green as being as tainted as Doyle, but it would seem the Dems have once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and gave the Green Team more ammunition.

I don't know if the Doyle Team is not very good, or just not very lucky, but they have got to be in crisis mode right now. Every time they pick up a newspaper, it's like watching a Packer game. You hope for the best, but expect the worst.

How's retirement, Xoff??

At 8:23 PM, Blogger Paul_Robeson said...

I don't know if anyone has taken a look at the DOJ brief submitted today; it's definitely worth a look in that it makes a compelling argument that almost the entirety of Green's transfer -- that's right, the whole kit and kaboodle, all $1.3 million -- is prohibited by federal law.

Under McCain-Feingold and subsequent amendments, federal campaign funds can be used as "donations" to state campaigns, subject to applicable state law. In Wisconsin, those donations from federal campaigns are limited to about $43,000. So, under this interpretation, Green would have to divest a bit over $1.2 million -- not merely the $400,000+ mandated by the EB ruling.

How's that for poetic justice? By doggedly pursuing this in court, Green actually might cost himself THREE TIMES the original EB ruling.

At 8:44 PM, Blogger Ben Masel said...

The only player comes out smelling good is Jacob Burns.

At 8:56 PM, Blogger Other Side said...

Troy, a well thought out comment. My only one is this: the Republicans on the board voted against the ruling. Was their's a partisan vote, or do they truly claim law on their side?

This lawyer was clumsy ... and it does leave a nasty taste. But it wasn't illegal, and for anyone to claim that the Republican members of the SEB were anything but partisan would be lying.

By the way, it has already been bumped by news that Green may have received donations in excess of the $10,000 minimum. Me thinks the JS is a little fickle.

At 12:10 AM, Blogger XOut said...

From the Federal perspective Green closed out his campaign cycle within the federal limits.

Wisconsin law, history and precedent allows that bucket of money to be moved over to his state account.

That is the sum and substance of the matter.

You cannot retroactively apply rules to previous cycles. You cannot cherry pick a group of donors from the cycle and you cannot RETROACTIVELY change the rules.

Like it or not – Doyle is completely screwed on this one.

I am so glad that Doyle chose to make ethics a centerpiece of his campaign and I am glad he spent so much money on it. Ethics is the loose thread on Doyle’s new suit and by the time it is unraveled, he will be exposed… completely. In fact, we this will be a twofer, because we will tie him to Falk and they will both be out.

All I can say is – “Thanks for being yourself Jim.”

At 6:26 AM, Blogger Paul_Robeson said...

xout, you claim: "From the Federal perspective Green closed out his campaign cycle within the federal limits."

I just think that's flat-out factually incorrect. In early 2005, when the transfer was made, the amended McCain-Feingold clearly was controlling, and it imposed limits.

Would it be too much to ask that you actually read the brief? It's written by folks who actually know something about the law. I don't claim any particular knowledge in this area, but I know enough to defer to people who actually know something about the law.

Not that it's a surprise, but the JS story on this in Friday's paper is a farce.

At 9:02 PM, Blogger XOut said...


It was from the PREVIOUS campaign cycle. You would have to go through and determine FIFO or FILO for contributions and even then your case is very thin.

But thanks for wishing otherwise.


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