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About that WalMart PAC Money…


At the presser following today’s WalMart rally, Jane says that Joe Lieberman claimed to the press that he had returned the WalMart PAC money that he had previously received as a campaign donation in this past election cycle.

If that is so, it would require that a form be filled out and turned into the FEC regarding the change in status of the donation.  And yet, there is no form that I have been able to find in the records saying that there was a return of monies of any kind.

So, I went to Maura of MyLeftNutmeg, who has been looking at this as well, to see if she’d been able to find anything that I might have missed.  Just got off the phone with Maura, and she has found something intriguing:

Turns out the WalMart PAC and the FEC records show a donation TO the Lieberman campaign FROM the WalMart PAC.  It’s dated 2/28/06 and was a donation in the amount of $1000.00 (See FEC information from WalMart PAC here.)

But the Lieberman Campaign never recorded that donation in their FEC filings.  (See Lieberman Campaign FEC Info. here.)  From Maura:

If you look at Joe Lieberman’s cycle summary page on the FEC web site

Then click on the "Non-Party (PAC or other Committees)" link:

Scroll down on that page and you’ll see the contribution from Wal-Mart Stores PAC For Responsible Government. You’ll see the $1,000 listed there, but no refund listed there. There are other PACS on that page with negative numbers, presumably refunds.

Now back on the cycle summary page, click "FRIENDS OF JOE LIEBERMAN" toward the bottom.

On the next page, you can see the April Quarterly filing for 2006. Click the image link (the one with the numbers) or the PDF.

Joe’s PAC contributions start on page 283 and end on page 318 of this filing. They correspond with line 11C of the quarterly summary. His one return of a PAC contribution is detailed on page 389 (corresponds with line 20c on quarterly summary).

There are no other documented returns of PAC contributions, but the Wal Mart receipt is never detailed, either.

So, does this mean that the Lieberman campaign received the donation and returned the check without cashing it?  And if so, why?  Were they trying to avoid people finding out that the WalMart had donated to them in the first place?  Well, that didn’t work…so why the subterfuge? 

And, is this legal?  Any FEC-knowledgable folks out there know the ins and outs of donation refusals and recording requirements, now’s the time to weigh in, because this just looks hinky to me.  But I’m no election law specialist, so if we have someone who knows what they are talking about on election filings — or anyone that wants to do some more digging on this — I would love it.

Also, for those of you who have been thinking about going to Connecticut this weekend to volunteer for the final push, the Lamont Campaign has put together a resource page — office locations, travel directions, hotels, rental cars — everything you could possibly need to know.  (Our own Siun worked her butt off on this — she’s up in CT volunteering, and doing a fabu job!)

UPDATE:  Well, someone’s money is being put to use, anyway — look at the Lieberman flyer offering to pay people to knock on doors for his campaign.  (via Lamontblog)

UPDATE #2:  Just got this via e-mail from Maura:

I just searched all of Wal-Mart PACs reports:

And there’s NO RECORD of getting a refund from Friends of Joe Lieberman. Refunds from PACS or federal candidates are located on Line 16 of their summary reports. I found refunds from Menendez for Congress and one other committee, but NONE from Lieberman.

Plot thickens.

Are they going to claim Joe has the unchashed check in his back pocket and just forgot about it? Or it got lost in the mail?

So, no record of a refund from the Liberman campaign back to WalMart PAC? The plot thickens, indeed.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com