A reader and frequent commenter who calls himself “Cow Droppings” posted these remarks on Burkablog a couple of days ago concerning the Green Party issue, a subject about which I have not yet written. Let’s stipulate as fact for a second that [Mike] Toomey orchestrated Green recruitment. Question: what crime was committed? He has every legal right to recruit Green candidates, and pay personal funds to do so. As for the non-profit corporation that allegedly funded it, I wonder why the US Supreme Court ruling on corporate funds doesn’t make this perfectly legit. I think Green lawyers must have been asleep when it comes to that argument. Calling this a scandal is what is spin – whether it is Wayne Slater, or D tools on this blog. * * * * The Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case says that corporations have a First Amendment right to engage in express advocacy on behalf of issues and candidates. Congress (and states) may not prohibit such activity nor make it a crime. The Court left in place various state and federal laws requiring disclaimers and disclosures pertaining to corporate expenditures. For example, corporations may not make direct expenditures to political campaigns, if a state prohibits it. The opinion likewise does not invalidate state laws requiring a treasurer to be appointed before an organization can raise or contribute money. I see two potential issues: (1) Is a petition drive “express advocacy” on behalf of a candidate? (2) Did the parties involved violate Texas election law? If the Green Party petitions end up as the subject of litigation, one of the questions will be whether these requirements were met. I was told, by a Democratic lawyer, that no treasurer was designated. I haven’t seen the documents. I can’t independently verify the lawyer’s statement. Nevertheless, this kind of error and omission, if in fact that is what occurred, is the kind of thing that could end up in court, and sooner rather than later. I wouldn’t say that the Green Party maneuvering is a scandal at this point, but I will say that it has the potential to turn into one.
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