A nonpartisan watchdog group has filed a complaint against Republican state Senate candidate Mark Green, claiming he used a political action committee to bypass limits on campaign contributions, reports the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle.
Tennessee Citizen Action filed the complaint with the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance.
The group alleges Green used “Green PAC” as “an illegal conduit” for donations from an employee and a business associate so they could exceed the maximum allowable contributions.
Tennessee Citizen Action is a consumer rights and public information organization that enlists volunteers to look through campaign finance reports for signs of inappropriate activity.
“In this climate of unlimited campaign money being allowed to be funneled into a campaign, we look out for the people whose only voice is their vote,” said Mary Mancini, executive director of the group, in an interview Tuesday afternoon.
Green PAC’s treasurer is Rachel Barrett, a partner at Barrett Johns Strategies, a firm that has been employed by the Green campaign, the complaint says.
…Green PAC has had only three donors: Green ($250); one of his employees, Win Winegar ($3,000); and Rich Street, owner of a medical billing company ($5,000).
On the same day Street made his donation, the bulk of the Green PAC money ($8,000) was deposited into the Mark Green for Senate Campaign, the complaint says.
Winegar, Leigh Winegar, Street and Leesa Street had each previously donated the maximum of $1,400 to the campaign.
The PAC was created just a few days before its biggest contribution, and there has been no activity since, the complaint says.
Note: A Republican news release on the complaint and Mancini’s response to the release are below.
News release from Tennessee Republican party:
NASHVILLE, TN – Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney responded to a complaint filed by a notorious liberal front group with the State Registry of Election Finance regarding a political action committee’s donation to Mark Green, the Republican candidate for state Senate in District 22.
“This is a true sign of desperation by the Barnes campaign,” Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney said.
“They have no message to spread and no record to run on, so they get their liberal friends to file a meritless complaint designed to distract voters. What voters should not be distracted from is the pure hypocrisy of Tim Barnes.”
In 2008, Tim Barnes was issued a show cause notice for failure to timely file a Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement. He was fined $400.00 for the infraction.
In 2009, the Registry of Election Finance Board fined state Sen. Tim Barnes $500 for failing to list addresses of paid campaign workers.
“How are we supposed to take seriously a complaint filed by a liberal front group on behalf of a candidate who stole an election and skirts campaign laws on a regular basis? This complaint is a farce and should be treated as such.”
“Tennessee Citizen Action is a renowned group of Democrat-friendly agitators who continually propagate the latest liberal cause du jour,” Devaney explained. “They are pro-income tax, pro-union thuggery and pro-Obamacare. They scoff at job-creating measures like tort reform and question why citizens should have to show a photo ID to vote. Like Senator Barnes, they are out of step with Tennesseans and this complaint is out of line.”
Response to the GOP release from Mancini:
“This is a typical reaction by political party operatives – rather than address the issue at hand, they attack the messenger.
“Tennessee Citizen Action doesn’t play in that sandbox. We’re looking out for the people of the state who, because they are simply trying to put food on the family dinner table, don’t have a ton of money to contribute to campaigns or candidates. On their behalf, we are trying to keep the democratic process as level a playing field as possible and look forward to the review of GreenPac by the Bureau of Ethics & Campaign Finance.”