Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Federal Elections Commission says Green did not violate federal law

Mark Green did not violate federal law when he transferred money from his congressional account to his gubernatorial fund for his 2006 bid, according to an FEC ruling.

The decision was in response to a complaint the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign filed during the campaign, arguing Green's transfer of some $468,000 violated federal law because the transfer was not permissible under state statutes. But the FEC rejected that argument in its ruling, handed down April 30. It found the transfer was allowable under federal law and stated that a violation of state law did not equate a federal violation as well.

Mark Graul, who served as Green's campaign manager, called the decision a vindication for the Republican, who had argued the transfer was legal. Green reached a settlement with the state Elections Board earlier this year to settle the lawsuit he filed challenging the agency's ruling. In the settlement, the SEB acknowledged that Green was following past precedent and the advice of a board attorney in transferring the money.

"It validates, vindicates everything that Mark Green said, everything that his campaign said," Graul said, calling the SEB decision a result of manipulation by Gov. Jim Doyle and one of his attorneys, who had contact with several Dem members before the vote ordering Green to dump the money.

A Doyle spokesman declined to respond to the comment, pointing out the election is over.

WDC Executive Director Mike McCabe said the FEC punted on what is essentially a moot point. He said he sympathized with Green because the SEB gave him "horribly mixed signals," but he disagreed Green has been validated because he cannot use the disputed money for a gubernatorial bid as he originally intended.

"I think it's sort of a weak-kneed response," he said of the FEC ruling.
"They ducked the larger issues. But they came down very clearly saying that state law trumps federal law. How often do you see that?"

*See the FEC analysis:
http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/070507_Green_FEC_Analysis.pdf

*See the Green settlement with the Elections Board:
http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/Green_Settlement.pdf

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