Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Green Gimmicks Don't Ring True

So Mark Green’s latest gimmick is to take a pledge huh? Xoff posted on an AP story today that Green will be returning his salary for missed congressional days while he campaigns for Governor. How interesting that on the same day the Green Bay Press Gazette features a story about the “muddy disclosure” in his campaign records.

The Gazette story focuses on his travel records from the third quarter of 2003. The story reports that Green’s records for that period seem to mix official public business with campaign activity. The story reports that analyzing the documents filed with the FEC are confusing.

Green insists his travel policy is black and white. But searching for an accounting of travel expenses for any particular trip in his FEC report is not as clear-cut.

Although Green’s FEC reports follow federal guidelines, pinpointing how certain trips are reflected in the reports can be confusing because of how the FEC lists disbursements and because of the lack of details required to explain those disbursements.

The story also reveals that the line items are not nearly specific enough and the listing of disbursements is nearly impossible to track.

Green’s FEC report, available online, listed his disbursement transactions in alphabetical order by vendor, making it difficult to track because the transactions are not grouped by date.

His FEC report, however, lists campaign disbursements by date.The public, however, has access to the report only through the FEC filing.

To add confusion, some line items on the report merely say “credit card fees,” with no explanation.

“Simply reporting a payment to a credit card company does not tell the public what you really bought with that money,” McCabe said. “It’s a practice that amounts to concealment, and it doesn’t serve the public interest at all.” (Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign)

Where has Mark Green been all of his time in Congress when it came to making this reporting process more transparent? Too busy thinking about his run for governor? If he wants to pretend now that he is holding some higher standard why didn’t he start with these FEC filings from 2003? Perhaps he would say that he did not because the FEC did not require it. I’m fairly certain that he is not required to give back his pay either, so why is he volunteering to do one but not the other? It seems that his sudden inspiration is more due to it being an election year than to any crisis of conscience. A gimmick rather than a principled stand.

1 comment:

Bob Thompson said...

How about he return the daily amount for the actual days that they are in Washington - that number is more like $1700 a day given how little work a Congressman actually does.