Mark Schauer, former Democat State Senator and current Representative in the United States House has been found guilty of violating the Campaign Finance Laws in Michigan. Schauer's committee admitted to donating more than the $20,000 allowable for an individual to donate to the Senate Democratic Fund.
The SDF agreed to pay back to the Schauer committee $202,250 which then turned the money over to the state as part of the consent agreement. Schauers committee was fined $6,000. The Senate Democratic Fund paid a $10,000 fine. There were thirteen committee's investigated but nine were dismissed because they paid back the money to the original donors.
There are a couple of points, perhaps three, to this that I find odd.
A lawmaker violates the law and gets a $6,000 fine. He's accused and apparently admitted he's guilty of violating that law. I try to apply the same type of thing to the American people and what happens to them. So let's say a bank teller takes $500 from a customer who wants to deposit it into their account. The teller then writes a receipt for $500 but only deposits $400 into their account. If that teller does that ten times a day, that's $1,000 per day that she is taking away from the people that do business in that bank. When she's caught, is she asked to pay that back and pay a fine? Yes. But she's also charged with embezzlement or misappropriation of funds and does jail time. Or perhaps she gets probation with no jail time. Is she back on the job the next day? No. She's naturally lost her job and has a criminal record for the rest of her life.
On the other hand, let's assume that she realizes that the bank examiner is looking into missing money. They are getting closer to finding out her scheme and that it was her. So, she returns the money. Do they drop the charges and give her a fine? No. She's charged, convicted and punished with a fine, probably restitution in addition to the fine and either jail time or probation, but she still loses her job.
This makes me wonder why a lawmaker that breaks the law is only given a fine and doesn't lose his job. Isn't this a double standard?
A second point. Michigan has been in a one state recession for five years. The legislature in Michigan thought it so bad that they decided to increase taxes massively in 2006, which is the same time that Schauer was violating the law. The government can't live within it's means so they increase taxes on the people that are struggling to pay their bills, yet, Schauer is collecting massive amounts of money and donating it illegally to a party. Where did this money come from? Who are the individuals? Are they in Michigan or outside of Michigan? My guess is that they are from outside of Michigan given the recession we've been in. With the one state recession we're in, isn't it a double standard for Schauer to vote to increase taxes on the citizens while taking more money from donors than the law permits?
Third point. Nine of the Thirteen committees caught gave the money back to the donors and avoided the fines. This is similar to a bank robber who gets caught and gives the money back to those they robbed and all is as if he never robbed the bank. Schauer however, didn't return the money to the donors. He was caught and still didn't return it to the people that donated it. Instead, he chose to give it to the government. The State. Those donors wanted to give their money to the Senate Democratic Fund, but because it wasn't done properly, their donation becomes a donation to the State of Michigan rather than to where they wanted it to go. I don't necessarily feel sorry for them because they apparently donated more than is allowable, but they didn't get the say in that. Mark Schauer decided the money was better in the hands of the State than in the people that made the donation. What do you call it when you give money to the State? Oh yeah, it's called TAXES. So these donors, that wanted their money to go one place, have really just ended up paying to the State. Mark Schauer confiscated their money. It really seems to be another form of tax.
Our elected officials are supposedly holding the public trust in their hands. When they violate the laws that they are sworn to uphold, they have violated the public trust and should not be permitted to hold that public trust any longer. Mark Schauer should be removed from office and not permitted to hold public office again. He's earned that penalty and should have to pay it.
Your comments are welcome.