Ashcroft Stonewalls Charges

| September 15, 2003

John Ashcroft is facing allegations that he broke the campaign finance law in his 2000 Senate campaign, reports Lisa Danetz in But the nation's top law enforcement officer has refused to respond. More than two years ago a coalition of voters and campaign finance reform groups filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission saying Ashcroft's PAC, 'Spirit of America,' gave a fundraising list to his Senate campaign. Why is this a big deal? The list of 100,000 donors, developed at a cost of more than $2 million, was received at no charge and rented out for a tidy profit of more than $100,000. The PAC did not report the donation and the campaign did not report it either.

Danetz notes that if these allegations are true, then Ashcroft is in trouble. PACs cannot contribute more than $10,000 to a federal candidate in a single election cycle. 'That limit includes the non-monetary donations, like the fundraising list. Further, all PAC contributions must be reported by both the contributing PAC itself and the recipient campaign committee. Quite simply, Ashcroft's campaign and leadership PAC broke the law by giving and receiving a contribution that exceeded the federal contribution limit by at least 10 times and possibly by more than 200 times, and by failing to disclose the contribution in the first place,' she writes.

Ashcroft has not claimed innocence in this matter. In fact, he has not said anything at all. The FEC has not resolved the matter, and their files are secret. A federal judge has recently ordered the FEC to explain the delay in handling the matter. Still, not much will see the light of day unless the Ashcroft groups provide written consent for disclosure. As Danetz writes, 'If Mr. Ashcroft is truly loyal to the rule of law, he will direct his campaign committee and Spirit of America to allow the FEC file to see daylight. Unless, of course, he has something to hide.'
-- Joel Stonington

Go there>>Ashcroft's Little Secret

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