Monday, July 24, 2006

Cheap Shot Politics

It seems that the cheap shot political virus has struck again. At stake this time, is the $182,000 of Mark Green’s campaign money.

Mike McCabe from Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has demanded that the State Elections board look into PAC money that Mark Green transferred from his federal campaign account to his state campaign account. Mike McCabe is stating that Mark Green’s campaign accepted more than $182,000 extra PAC donations that is no longer allowed by law.

Here is what really happened.

In January of 2005, the Mark Green campaign transferred $1.3 million worth of his federal campaign funds to his state gubernatorial campaign. The $1.3 million included $500,000 worth of PAC money.

Following this transfer, the State Elections board passed some new rules stating that federal campaign money could be transferred as long as the state campaign rules were followed. One of these new rules was that campaigns could only use $485,000 worth of PAC funds. A legislative committee suspended the rule immediately.

At the time the Green campaign transferred the money, they were following the letter of the law. Every dime that was transferred was perfectly legal, including the PAC funds. All of this took place in January of 2005.

Here we are a year and half later, and the legislative session ended July 12th, 2006. With the ending of the legislative session, Mike McCabe is now stating that the rule that was originally suspended by the legislature now goes back into effect. That rule states that candidates are only allowed to accept $485,000 worth of PAC money. The Green Campaign not only transferred $500,000 worth of PAC money from his federal campaign fund, but he has been raising more since then.

If you believe Mr. McCabe’s accusation, that would mean the transaction that took place a year and a half ago, is now subject to a rule that went into affect a couple of weeks ago. This would force the Green campaign to get rid of $182,000 worth of PAC money.

This is ridiculous on so many levels.

Imagine if you were driving down the interstate going the posted speed limit of 65 MPH and one of the interstate cameras clocked you going the speed limit. Tomorrow, someone passes a law stating that 55 MPH is the new speed limit. The state police then decided to go back to take a look at the cameras and each and every person going 65 MPH the previous day are now in violation of the new law and were sent a speeding ticket.

Imagine the outrage!

As I stated previously, this is ridiculous on so many levels.

Have state election laws now become a moving target?

By the looks of this scorecard- the election laws are a moving target.

The Green campaign transfers the PAC funds- Green is following the law

The State elections board passes a new rule- Green is breaking the law

The legislature suspends the new rule- Green is following the law

The legislative session ends- Green is now breaking the law again

All of this has taken place on one single transaction from January of 2005. Clearly there are alot of open ended questions when it comes to this rule.

This accusation by Mike McCabe, from Wisconsin Democracy Campaign was nothing but a political cheap shot. McCabe saw an opportunity to take a cheap shot and he took it.

The good news is that the AP did not seem to be buying into this one. From the AP article- “Ron Sklansky, a lawyer for the Legislature, said it's unclear if that's true. He predicted any attempt to enforce the rule by the board could end up in litigation.”

Ron Sklansky is right, it would end up in court and it is a pretty safe bet that any decent judge would toss this one out!

If Mike McCabe is truly interested in eliminating special interest money from politics, perhaps he should take a look at WEAC and the Indian tribes with their millions of dollars for Doyle.

H/T Jenna @ Right off the Shore


roastedpeanuts said...

I'm not sure I understand your logic. Completely legal contributions received by the governor are the same as $182,000 in excess PAC contributions received by Green? I don't have a problem with PAC contributions, but shouldn't the limit be kept the same for both candidates? Why should Green be able to keep money that the governor isn't even allowed to raise?

K. Carpenter said...

You cannot change the rules in the middle of the game.

Imagine if the NFL did this? In the middle of a game, one team realizes that the other teams players are three times as big as they are. So in the middle of the game- the NFL decides to make all of one team's players that weigh more than 300 lbs sit out the rest of the game. After all, it just isn't fair.

Mark Green played by the rules he was given at the time, and someone is trying to yank the rug out from under him.

I actually believe the State Elections Board needs to keep this rule, but it will have to go in effect in December at the beginning of a new election cycle.
Changing the rules in the middle of the game is wrong. Trying to push this 3 months before an election, is just plain cheap and underhanded.

krshorewood said...

My god you people are crybabies. Just spend a few minutes, go to McCabe's site and see how they are after Doyle many more times than Green. Wiht Green's conections to the GOP and Abramhof only a fool or a mindless partisan would think he is clean.

And for a conservative to talk about cheap shots is gut busting laughable.

This DJ said...

The problem with the Green Donations isn't that they were legal at the time. That's debateable. It's the way they became legal. Elections board makes rule, republicans suspend rule, does that mean rule hasn't ever been made? Does that mean that it isn't shady?

Let's go back in time.
Say there's a Dem Majority and Tommy is still governor.

Would say, Dave Obey (just for arguement sakes) transfer money from an account filed with pac money, and the Elections Board changes the rule to stop that, and the DEM Majority suspends that rule and pretends it doesn't exist. What would you and the drones say?

It's shady either way.