August 31, 2006
State Elections Board Raps Green over PAC Money
Rep. Mark Green got rapped by a partisan vote on the state elections board and ordered to give up $468,000 in political action committee donations he transfered from his federal campaign account to that for his race for governor.
The Doyle campaign is using the board's decision to tar Green, making him look as sleazy as Gov. Doyle. State Democratic Party chairman Joe Wineke called the contested money "dirty." The fact is Green's PAC money was legal when initially raised and legal when moved into gubernatorial account. It only broke the rules when five Democratic board members along with one libertarian decided to stick it to Rep. Green.
Republican State Senator Mike Ellis, fervent critic of campaign finances and no fan to conservatives, said the board's decision was "partisan mischief." Ellis also said, "Every action that Mark Green took from raising the money to spending it, he took according to the laws that were in effect at the time. For the Elections Board to step in at the 11th hour and in a clearly partisan act say that the rules have suddenly changed – and in effect that they should be applied retroactively – is patently unfair."
If Rep. Green's money is illegal then when will Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett be asked to return the money he transfered from his federal campaign account to his 2002 gubernatorial campaign account? At least uber-partisan Bill Christofferson is consistent.
In a memo [PDF], George Dunst, legal counsel to the State Elections Board opined that since the legislature blocked enaction of the board's attempt to prevent Green from moving federal campaign funds into his gubernatorial account, "The effect of the suspension is that Congressman Green’s campaign had the right, in the absence of a countervailing rule, to spend all of its converted money until such time that the rule went into effect."
The Wisconsin State Journal editorial board decided the GOP-controlled State Assembly was to blame for Green's predicament:
The GOP-run state Senate overwhelmingly approved SB 1 last year. Authored by Sen. Mike Ellis, R-Neenah, the bill would have created a Government Ac countability Board with members who could not be political hacks. Law school deans or judges -- rather than politicians -- would have nominate fair-minded people to the board.
That's pushing a pet issue instead of dealing with the news at hand. Democrats on the Elections Board decided a little over two months before the election to stick it to one of the governor candidates. That's a vicious political power play that would happen in a place like Louisiana not Wisconsin.
Chris at the Badger Blog Alliance is absolutely right that the governor's race is a "bar fight." Doyle could have told his cronies on the Elections Board to give Green a pass. He didn't which shows he's willing to use anything at his disposal to win re-election. Democrats on the board say they weren't told how to vote by Doyle. They didn't need to. They didn't get on the board to help Republicans. They're there to advance Democratic Party interests. Owen Robinson writes, "This ruling stinks like a corrupt political move by Doyle’s henchmen on the Elections Board to smear Green during the election."
We're almost at Labor Day when the summer unofficially ends and voters really start looking at the races and candidates. The Green campaign may fight the Election Board's ruling in court. If they do or don't Green will need money to fight all the cash Gov. Doyle and his interests will use to attack Green as "too extreme" for Wisconsin. Now's a great time to dig in your pockets and donate to Mark Green's campaign. Tell Gov. Doyle and his flacks on the Elections Board they can't stop Mark Green from getting his message out.
"Return Cash, Green Told"del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | Spurl | Yahoo MyWeb