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June 29, 2005

Evans, Gianulis and money...

Lane Evans doesn't have to say he did anything wrong, but his campaign fund is going to pay $185,000 to settle a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission. John Gianulis doesn't have to say he did anything wrong, but the R.I. County Dem central committee is going to pay $30,000 in the same case.

The settlement announced by the FEC also provides that the 17th District Victory Fund, accused of illegally funneling union money into the Evans campaign, will go out of business and turn over to the FEC whatever funds it had on hand June 9, 2005.

Evans issued a statement decrying the case as "political witch hunt." It said the 17th District Victory Fund did nothing wrong and was created to help counteract large amounts of money the Republican Party was using to try to defeat the congressman in 1998 and 2000. The settlement was being accepted because "it wasn't worth the time and money it would take to conclude it in court."

I know lawyers are costly -- but so is a $215,000 settlement, and dollars don't cover all the cost.

R.I. County GOP chairman Tom Getz, who filed the complaint, said the "fraudulent activities" of the Evans' committees cost the R's the congressional seat.

The Victory Fund was important in the exceedingly expensive campaigns of 1998 and 2000, in both of which Quincy tv news guy Mark Baker came closer than anyone ever has to unseating the long-serving Mr. Evans.

More pertinent is the future The latest FEC filing show Friends of Lane Evans had just $31,000 on hand as of March 31. The settlement money is to be paid in installments, but the congressman seemingly has an uphill battle on the financial front if he runs again.
The Dem central committee seemingly has money problems now, too. It's latest filing indicates it has just slightly more than $10,000 on hand, with big settlement costs to pay.
How much unrest will all this stir among the D troops? Not lots, would be my first guess. Watch the wagons circle around the long-time leaders.

One more observation: The settlement comes nearly five years after the complaint was filed. The time lapse on its face is an indictment of the process. Clearer rules would be a good thing, though every time campaign-finance rules get "clarified" a whole new set of problems are created.

Posted by jcb at June 29, 2005 07:09 PM

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