What They’re Saying: Senator Feingold’s ‘Legalized Slush Fund’

An independent campaign finance expert raised serious concerns yesterday about Senator Feingold’s Progressives United. Attorney Paul Jossey, who has written extensively about questionable practices of liberal and conservative political action committees, called Progressives United a “legalized slush fund” that belongs in the same category of what some have called scam PACs.

Media across Wisconsin covered Mr. Jossey’s comments as Progressives United continues to play a central role in the Clintonesque State Department email scandal and whether Senator Feingold illegally coordinated the beginning of his Senate campaign while on State Department payroll.

The Capital Times:Jossey pegs Progressives United as a group that took advantage of donors, citing a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report from last summer that found Progressives United gave just 5.6 percent of its income to federal candidates and political parties. … ‘This PAC was nothing more than a legalized slush fund,’ Jossey said, arguing the group served as a place to ‘warehouse’ top Feingold staffers and a means for Feingold to build an email list for a future campaign.”

WisPolitics: “[Jossey] also rejected the argument the PAC was a new breed that sought to marshal resources to other candidates through supporters rather than sending money to candidates on its own. ‘It’s very disappointing that Mr. Feingold, who has spent a career in the campaign finance weeds and made this a major issue of his life, to use this PAC as essentially a legalized slush fund,’ Jossey said.”

Wisconsin Public Radio: Sen. Johnson’s campaign used its call to accuse opponent Russ Feingold of having political conversations as a State Department employee and having what they called a “legalized slush fund” for his political staff when he wasn’t in office.”

Fox 6: Republicans allege Feingold broke the federal Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from certain campaign activities. Feingold has said he followed the law. Johnson and Wisconsin Republicans are demanding that the U.S. State Department turn over Feingold’s emails from his time at the agency.

Wisconsin Watchdog: “As has been well documented, [Progressives United], launched by an out-of-office Feingold in 2011, spent the brunt of its money not on candidates or issues, but on itself. And as Feingold deals with allegations he violated the federal Hatch Act, questions about what conservative talk show host Vicki McKenna has dubbed the ‘Feingold Foundation’ abound. Among them, did Feingold use Progressives United to keep key people employed so they could seamlessly move over to his Senate campaign?”