Spent an extra $5 for the flag pin
Wisconsin Republicans just keep on giving. Or taking, or something. From TPM:
Legal experts say that whether Sen. Ron Johnson's (R-WI) $10 million parting gift from his company potentially violates campaign laws depends on when it was negotiated. But asked by TPM to directly address the timing, Johnson repeatedly ducked the question. [...]
Johnson's office also ignored multiple questions about the windfall payment on Monday. He has yet to produce a written deferred compensation agreement that was signed and dated before he launched his campaign. Election law attorneys say a written agreement is critical, and without one, Johnson could face serious charges that he violated campaign-finance laws barring direct corporate funding of federal candidates.
After spending $9 million of his own money in the 2010 election against Feingold, Johnson was, well, out $9 million. But then he had a bit of luck: his own private company, Pacur, just happened to pay cut him a check for $10 million in "deferred compensation" after the campaign, and just before he was sworn in as a senator. Pretty fortunate, right?
So new senator Ron Johnson gets a windfall severance/compensation package from Pacur and its CEO, a fellow called... um... Ron Johnson, as it turns out. And this just happens to be an amount of money that would wipe senator Ron Johnson's very-recent personal campaign debts clean.
The only problem with this sweet scheme? Yeah, it might be illegal. As in, it's almost certainly illegal unless Johnson comes up with some document somewhere prior to his senate run that says he really was owed that money. If he just happened to pay himself that money after running up the debt, it may count as an illegal corporate campaign contribution. And that means either that crafty CEO or that corrupt senator goes to jail (happily, they could share a cell).
You would think that given this rather critical detail, Johnson would be crawling through all his drawers and closets trying to come up with that all-important document proving that he didn't just decide to cut himself an after-the-fact corporate check to cover his own campaign expenses. But Johnson isn't doing that. He's just dodging the question (and insulting people who ask about it.)
Whether anything may come of all this is depends on who you ask. There's not much stomach these days to police corporate campaign contributions, even when the "corporate" and the "campaign" parts of that statement are referring to the exact same person.
But if nothing else, it's yet another demonstration of how closely corporate and campaigning are tied, these days. If you want a seat as a senator, you need a corporate sugar daddy. And if you yourself are that corporate sugar daddy, congratulations: you've just saved yourself a lot of fundraising.