“Wow, I remember when all these The future can be taller . Quieter. Domini *6 And filled with green places. SOCIAL INVESTMENTSg Invest in tomorrow today. Investing For Good 1-800-530-5321 www. domini.cont You should consider the Domini Funds’ investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses carefully before investing. Please obtain a copy of the Funds’ current prospectus for more complete information on these and other topics by calling 1-800-530-5321 or online at www.domini.com . Please read it carefully before investing or sending money. DSIL Investment Services LLC, Distributor. 04/05 tial and totaled $190,000 exactly. “Are you telling this Court that it was pure coincidence that TRMPAC sent $190,000 in corporate money up to RNSEC and then two weeks later RNSEC sent seven TRMPAC-supported candidates on the same date $190,000 in hard contributions? Is that your testimony today?” asked Feldman. “I don’t know that I’d use the word `coincidence,'” replied Spies. “I don’t knowI don’t have personal knowledge of exactly why that money was sent down. What my testimony is, is that it’s irrelevant.” Prior to closing arguments on March 4, Scarborough noted that plaintiffs had limited their scope to the reporting requirements of Chapter 254. Are they conceding on the other points, Scarborough asked hopefully. Crews argued that the indictments precluded them from presenting all their evidence on the conspiracy and Chapter 253 claims. Scarborough protested to no avail. It took two months for Judge Hart to deliver a preliminary ruling on the case. Scarborough read the draft opinion and knew that he had lost on every point but one. The lawyers for the losing Democratic candidates had read the statute to mean that liability allowed each candidate to recover twice the total contributions and expenditures that should have been reported for the whole election. If he had accepted this interpretation, Hart could have hit Ceverha with a judgment of almost $60 million. Instead he ruled that the plaintiffs could recover only for unreported TRMPAC corporate expenditures spent on their specific races. The judge came up with a total damage award of $196,660. “If this was all about dollars, I would absolutely tell you this is a huge victory,” says Scarborough, “but I cannot tell you that because I’ve already said, this is not about the dollars. And so, because it’s about politics, I can’t describe this as a victory because on the political issue he ruled against us, that TRMPAC should have reported this money that it didn’t report.” Hart went even further than that. He demolished TRMPAC’s freedom of speech argument. “As TRMPAC’s principal purpose, by definition and in fact, are supporting or opposing candidates as well as accepting political contributions and making political expenditures, I hold that campaign contributions and expenditures of TRMPAC need not meet the ‘express advocacy’ test to be reportable by its treasurer.” The judge cited TRMPAC’s own words to bolster his opinion. He mentioned the group’s brochure to potential donors that stated that “[e]very dollar you contribute will go directly toward helping win the tough races in November.” “TRMPAC did exactly what it represented to the public and contributors: dollars contributed were used in connection with campaigns for public office,” Hart wrote. “I do not believe that the legislature intended that a campaign treasurer could avoid per forming his statutory duties by turning a blind eye to obvious facts.” He also ruled against Scarborough’s broad definition of administrative expenses. And while Hart did not explicitly mention the $190,000 sent to RNSEC, he gave a de facto ruling on the matter by taking it into account when determining damages. He awarded Ann Kitchen $87,332 and Danny Duncan $57,332, which could only be arrived at by incorporating damages for the $35,000 and $20,000 respectively for each candidate that RNSEC sent back to their opponents. Advocates who believe TRMPAC and TAB broke the law rejoiced in the belief that Hart’s ruling bolsters the criminal case. “I think it has strengthened the perception among all the players that the criminal prosecutions are legitimate,” says TPJ’s Craig McDonald. But for Ivy, Crews & Elliott, the case is far from over and may well outlive the firm. \(For reasons unrelated to the AUGUST 26, 2005 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 25
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