Memo to Elections Board
August 22, 2006
TO: Members of the State Elections Board
FROM: Mike McCabe, Executive Director
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
SUBJECT: Enforcement of State Laws Governing Political Action Committee (PAC) Contributions
I am writing to provide additional information supporting our July 24, 2006 memo urging the board to enforce the state law limiting the amount of money candidates for state office may accept from special interest political action committees (PACs).
In the July 24 memo, it was noted that Congressman Mark Green has transferred $511,405 in PAC donations from his federal campaign account to the state account he established to finance his bid for governor, and has raised another $156,140 from PACs since launching his state campaign, bringing his total PAC contributions to $667,545. Wisconsin law limits the amount of PAC money candidates for governor may take to $485,000 in a four-year election cycle.
On behalf of the Democracy Campaign, I raise the additional concern that more than 90% of the PAC donations Congressman Green transferred from his federal campaign committee to the state account he is using to finance his campaign for governor were made by PACs that have never registered in Wisconsin, or in one case registered well after the contributions were made or Green’s account transfer occurred. This is not allowed under state law. Wisconsin law clearly requires any organization active in affecting the nomination process, the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate to register in Wisconsin. State law requires PACs seeking to influence state elections to register in Wisconsin whether or not the committee is a resident committee or an out-of-state organization.
The Democracy Campaign has reviewed the PAC donations Congressman Green transferred from his federal account to his state campaign committee. Of the $511,405.31 in PAC donations transferred by the Green campaign, $467,844.60 came from PACs not registered in Wisconsin. The remaining $43,560.71 came from PACs registered with the state Elections Board.
Our further review of Congressman Green’s PAC donations shows that his campaign not only has run afoul of the state law limiting total PAC contributions to a candidate for governor to $485,000 for the election cycle, but also has violated the state law allowing such contributions to be accepted only from PACs that are duly registered in Wisconsin.
I hope you will take this into consideration when you review this matter at your August 30 meeting, and will require Congressman Green to comply with state campaign finance laws governing both the amount and the source of PAC contributions he can accept.