9.26.2006

Judge denies Green, but doesn't address the problem

A Dane County Judge has now ruled that Mark Green cannot keep the nearly $468,000 that the State Elections Board declared illegal. At first it seems as though this is case closed and we can all put this matter behind us.

Unfortunately, as in all politics, things are never as they seem.

The real problem with Judge Neiss' ruling is that it does not address the actions of the Elections Board at all. Instead, Judge Neiss buys into the Justice Department's argument that the Elections Board ruling doesn't matter. No, the incorporation of the federal McCain/Feingold act makes any transfer between Green's federal and state campaigns illegal.

The only real problem with that whole argument is that it ignores facts in the case. If the new federal guidelines were truly the governing law, then why didn't the Elections Board mention it in its rulings? Why then, when the Green campaign notified the Board that it would be transferring funds from the congressional to gubernatorial campaigns, did the Board not tell Green right away that a transfer is out of the question?

What about the fact that, initially, the Board expressed no problems with Green's conversion? What about the fact that the Board changed its rules after the conversion took place?

The ruling by Judge Neiss does not address the central question of the Elections Board's actions and if anything he only made this whole issue that much more controversial and divisive. It is apparent now that the only body that is going to be able to resolve this is the State Supreme Court.

Green notified the Elections Board that he would be transferring the money. The Board said nothing about it until after it passed a new rule after the transfer took place. The money in question was legally raised according to federal law before being transferred. Now we have e-mails from a Doyle campaign lawyer that urged the Board to rule against Green if for no other reason than a PR victory for Doyle.

It never ceases to amaze me to what lengths this Governor is willing to go to take attention off himself and his record of failure and deception.