One outspoken lawmaker says Wednesday's vote by the State Elections Board is an “ex post facto, atrocious ruling and totally illegal.” The Wisconsin Elections Board orders Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Green to give back $468,000 in campaign funds he got from special interest groups that are not registered in Wisconsin. State Senator Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) says this ruling is precisely why Wisconsin needs ethics reform legislation. ?I mean this is just political shenanigans at its worst.?
The Ethics Board had passed a rule in January 2005, saying federal campaign money couldn't be transferred to a state campaign fund. But that rule was suspended a month later by a legislative committee. Ellis says the Elections Board took that suspended rule and reinstated it — after Green had already legally transferred the money. ?They?re, in effect, saying that it?s got an ex post facto provision, that it really went into effect back in February. That is absolutely an atrocious ruling, totally illegal. It negates the ability of the legislature to ever suspend any rule.?
Ellis says even the Election Board's legal council, George Dunst, had advised the Board that what Green did was perfectly legal. ?These people, in effect, are trying to affect the outcome of the fall election with what I believe is a blatantly illegal act.?
Ellis says this ruling is a good example of why his ethics reform legislation — Senate Bill-1 — is needed. It would, in part, combine the Elections and Ethics Boards to create one non-partisan government accountability board. Anson Kaye, Communications Director for the Doyle Campaign, says in a statement, ?Congressman Green has been caught violating Wisconsin ?s campaign finance laws.” And he should “get rid of the dirty money.”
The vote was 5-2. Four Democrats on the Board and one Libertarian voted against Green, while two Republicans supported him.