Monday, August 27, 2007

Fieger charged with campaign finance violations

The only democrat in recent memory who actually lost Ann Arbor is back in the news over his political donations to John "Hair" Edwards.
From the Oakland Press:

Attorney Geoffrey Fieger used "straw donors" to illegally funnel $127,000 to the presidential campaign of John Edwards in 2003 and 2004, a 10-count indictment alleges.

Fieger and his law partner, Vernon Johnson, 45, were named in the grand jury indictment that was unsealed Friday in Detroit.

Fieger, 56, best known for defending assisted-suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian, said the charges were politically motivated and "solely intended to intimidate Democratic supporters around the country."


The justice department alleges Fieger and Johnson skirted the $2,000 individual contribution limit by soliciting others to make contributions to Edwards and either providing the funds or reimbursing the donors for their contributions.

The donors included attorneys and spouses of Fieger's law firm, non-attorney employees and spouses at the law firm, Fieger's friends and third-party vendors to the law firm, according to the indictment.

The indictment also alleges Fieger obstructed justice by concealing information or providing false information to the grand jury. The government alleges Fieger told federal agents a deceased member of the law firm was responsible for the campaign contributions.

First, let's remember that he IS innocent till proven guilty. We can't arrest someone for being a prick. That isn't a crime.

That said, it isn't the first time he's been involved in campaign finance shenanagans. There was a bunch of anyonomous PAC funnelling that was orchastrated by Fieger in a recent state Supreme Court race. The left hates strict constructionists and originalist judges, and Fieger was a leader in the attempt to take them out election time, but did not want his name attached to it for obvious reasons.

On the state level, what he was charged with is called earmarking. It is a VERY COMMON, but ILLEGAL practice at both the state and federal level. In Gubenatorial Races, the donation limit is $3400. Let's say that John Doe runs for governor. I can give Doe $3400 if I had that kind of money. Anything more would be illegal. What often happens is that a donor will give money to an individual "earmarking" it to be given to a campaign. That's illegal and what Fieger is charged with. If I wanted to give $34,000 to Doe, I couldn't give $3400, and give $3400 to nine of my collegues with the stipulation that it goes to Doe's campaign. That's illegal, although as I said before - an extremely common practice (and tough to prove).

Is he guilty here? I'll let the jury decide that. I will say one thing. If he's guilty, he's by far not the only one. That I can say for a fact. A lot of people should be scared right now. Luckily for me, I don't earmark, and I stayed the hell away from that in campaigns I treasured.

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