Ashcroft Stonewalls Charges

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

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

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