Federal law prohibits corporations from donating to individuals running for public office, but freshman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) may have made an end run around this law:
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.”
Sadly, Johnson’s refusal to explain his actions could be exactly the right legal strategy for him, even if he is guilty of evading campaign finance laws. As one election lawyer told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, to determine that Johnson violated a federal statute, the FEC would need to find a “smoking gun” proving the existance of a tacit agreement between Johnson and Pacur that the company would reimburse his campaign costs.
The unlikelihood of such a prospect may be what makes Johnson comfortable refusing to talk about his enormous single payday.