WISCREPORT- Troubles continue to mount for Congressman Mark Green as a nonpartisan campaign watchdog group has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) asking that Green be required to remove almost the entire, alleged, $1.3 million he transferred from his federal to his state campaign account last year because it violates federal campaign finance law. Green's campaign manager says the complaint is without merit.
The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s complaint is based on findings from the Wisconsin Department of Justice that Green’s transfer violates the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, commonly known as the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law. [Source: Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Press Release, 9/27/06]
The Justice Department has said Congressman Green only should have been allowed to transfer $43,128 under federal law – the maximum amount state law allows any campaign committee to give to a candidate for Governor. Federal law says a transfer of federal funds to a state account is subject to state contribution limits. [Source: DOJ Defendants Brief, Page 7]
The complaint comes just days after a Dane County Circuit Court judge upheld a State Elections Board order that Congressman Green must get rid of nearly $468,000 in illegal federal political action committee (PAC) donations that violate state law. The judge also accepted the Justice Department’s argument that Green violated federal law with his transfer and that almost the entire $1.3 million is illegal. [Source: Circuit Court Ruling, Case No. 06 CW3055]
And, a member of the State Elections Board has said the board may look at requiring Congressman Green to get rid of the additional $775,000 in funds that violate federal law at its meeting next week. [Associated Press, 9/27/06]
Green's campaign manager, Mark Groul, asserts that his candidate has done nothing wrong concerning the conversion. "For nearly two years, the conversion that Mark Green undertook was completely legal, and a widely accepted, allowable practice", Groul states. "In fact, that’s why the state Elections Board took the retroactive action it did against Green for Wisconsin and why it also passed a prospective rule not allowing future federal to state conversions", Groul insists.
“The more we learn about Congressman Green’s $1.3 million, the dirtier it gets,” said Joe Wineke, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “Congressman Green never should have been allowed to bring this Washington special interest money into Wisconsin in the first place. A Dane Court Circuit Court judge, the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, and the State Elections Board all agree Green has violated federal and state laws. The only one still claiming he is above the law is Congressman Green", Wineke said.