Thursday, September 21, 2006

Green Attorney: Ruling "Hijacked" Free Speech

The state Elections Board order that Republican Mark Green's campaign divest $468,000 in federal PAC money was retroactive and "hijacked half a million dollars of Mark Green's free speech," his attorney said in court today.

Green's attorney Dan Kelly said the board's prior ruling allowing Democrat Tom Barrett to transfer his federal PAC money set a precedent that was broken by the ruling last month against Green.

"Nobody seems to know what the law is, but everyone seems to want to apply it against Mark Green," said Kelly.

Attorneys for the state Department of Justice, representing the Elections Board, argued that the Elections Board was wrong in the Barrett case, and that Green is subject to state and federal laws that allow only a one-time donation of $43,128.

See a filing from the DOJ: http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/060921DOJbrief.pdf

Dane County Judge Richard Niess said at the 2 1/2 hour hearing today that he plans to have a written ruling Monday afternoon. Niess said he was trying to expedite the case because he doesn't expect to have the final word in the matter.

"Dispatch is more important than anything I have to say on the law," Niess said, saying several times throughout the course of the hearing that he expects the case to go to the Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court.

Niess later said, "I feel like a chef who dropped all the eggs and now has to make an omelette."

The individual Elections Board members named in the suit were dropped from it by the plaintiff today. Green campaign co-counsel Don Millis explained the individual members were dropped to expedite the case.

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