Wisconsin Senator In Potential Hot Water for Corporate "Compensation"

Ron Johnson, Wisconsin's newest senator, is in a bit of a mess due to a fishy "deferred" payment from his former corporation, a plastics company he ran called Pacur--that happens to be quite similar to his own personal contributions to his senate campaign.

Here's the story, via the Journal-Sentinel:

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."

While proving that this somehow violated campaign finance law would be an "uphill battle," requiring a "smoking gun" that linked the package payout to the campaign itself.

Still, the level of suspicion the transaction raises may not disappear soon, as Johnson has fully admitted to choosing the value of the payment himself.

Steve Benen has more on Johnson as a candidate and senator:

I've feared for a long while that Johnson just isn't very bright. He was a far-right candidate who railed against government intervention in private industry, but has sought and received federal aid for his business enterprises. He thinks "sunspots" cause global warming, which doesn't make any sense. He's argued that China is better for businesses than the United States. He thinks Greenland has snow because of global cooling. At the height of the BP oil spill disaster, he said he'd sell his BP stock, just as soon as it was more profitable for him.

And as an actual member of the Senate, Johnson has actually been slightly worse.

But this new story is more serious. Having a limited intellect is one thing; being corrupt and circumventing election laws is something else.


Read the rest of the story here. H/T to Talking Points Memo

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at June 24, 2011, 5:35am

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