The new political aristocracy is using their own big money in a legal, but clever way, to scam the system and win elections. Leave it to accountant CEO and now senator Ron Johnson to cheat his way to the top, in a completely lawful but snake like way.
jsonline-Dan Bice: After dropping nearly $9 million from his own pocket to win a seat in the U.S. Senate, Ron Johnson didn't have to feel the pain for very long … Johnson's plastics company paid him $10 million in deferred compensation shortly before he was sworn in as Wisconsin's junior senator, according to his latest financial disclosure report.
The first-term Republican declined to say how his Oshkosh firm, Pacur, came up with a figure that so closely mirrored the amount he personally put into his campaign fund.
"You take a look in terms of what would be a reasonable compensation package, OK?" Johnson said this week. "It's a private business. I've complied with all the disclosure laws, and I don't have to explain it any further to someone like you."
Here's Rachel Maddow:
This living Ayn Randian caricature appears to be slipping into his role as Howard Roark again. He’s the self-made man who played by the rules, his rules, and gamed a system that would keep him from his senatorial goal. Bice continues...
The deal was enough to raise the ire of the left-leaning good-government types, who are calling for a probe by federal election regulators. "It looks like a scheme to get around a century-old law" barring corporate donations to candidates, said Mike McCabe, head of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. "It's a clever scheme, but it still looks like a scheme to get around the law."
Johnson said he dialed down his active involvement with Pacur and received the deferred compensation package for serving as its CEO over the previous 13 years. Unlike most deferred package deals, however, it appears that the company had not set aside a specified amount annually that would be paid out when he left the firm. Instead, Johnson said the $10 million payment was "an agreed-upon amount" that was determined at the end of his tenure with the company.
Agreed upon with whom?
"That would be me," he said.
"I have no idea what could be suspicious or cynical about this," Johnson said before cutting short the interview. "This was fully disclosed in terms of what I reported."
McCabe said he is not buying it. "He put $9 million of his own money into the campaign, and then he has the company pay him back shortly after the election," said McCabe … "That looks like the company has paid for his campaign." McCabe said it's the timing of the deferred compensation payment that's going to raise eyebrows. Actually, Federal Election Commission spokesman Christian Hilland said the situation is a new one on him, too. Proving Johnson violated election law would be difficult, according to several election lawyers. "The question is: Is it a bona fide deferred compensation agreement?" the national lawyer said. "In other words, was the payment an appropriate use of corporate resources?"