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CREW files complaint over Alvin Greene

Updated: 7:05 p.m.
By Garance Franke-Ruta and R. Jeffrey Smith
The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington alleged Tuesday that South Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Alvin M. Greene violated election laws by failing to file campaign finance and other required reports. The group also called on the state's attorney general to investigate whether Greene improperly received financial help to induce him to run for office.

In addition, CREW filed formal complaints with the Federal Election Commission against three other South Carolina Democrats: Gregory Brown and Benjamin Frasier Jr. -- who ran campaigns in which House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) has said something was "amiss" -- and Brian L. Doyle.

Doyle, a syndicated radio talk show host and convicted felon, ran in South Carolina's 3rd District. In January, Doyle filed a $1 million lawsuit against the state Democrats, alleging they were unfairly seeking to keep him off the ballot.

Doyle's bid for office failed, and Brown lost to the nine-term incumbent Clyburn in the state's 6th District. But Frasier, a perennial candidate in the state, won his 1st District primary contest. All failed to properly file forms with the FEC, the ethics group said.

Greene has denied wrongdoing and rejected the suggestion that he is a GOP "plant" whose candidacy was intended to embarrass the Democratic Party.

The complaints add to the political ruckus following Greene's surprise victory in the primary race to become the Democrat against incumbent Republican Sen. Jim DeMint in November. Greene, 32, is an unemployed veteran, lives with his ill father, failed to campaign for office, and has an appointed public defender in a pending obscenity case involving a female college student -- circumstances that have sown mystery about the reasons for his candidacy.

"The limited facts available regarding Mr. Greene's candidacy for the United States Senate strongly suggest criminal misconduct," said Melanie Sloan, the CREW's executive director, in a letter to South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster. "Paying candidates to run for office and concealing sources of campaign funds undermines the integrity of the electoral process and threatens our democracy," she added in a statement.

The group's complaint demands sanctions against Greene, who it said had spent enough money -- $10,400 -- on his filing fee in South Carolina to meet a threshold requiring federal quarterly reports be filed. Green paid the fee with a blank bank check with "Alvin M. Greene for U.S. Senate" handwritten across the top.

Mary Brandenberger, a spokeswoman for the commission, confirmed that Greene did not file the quarterly reports, but she said that state filing fee payments are typically not counted toward the federal threshold.

Sloan also noted that South Carolina law prohibits accepting funds, loans or anything else of value as an inducement to run for political office. Greene has told reporters that the March 16 registration payment came from his own funds and that he was unaware of any federal reporting requirements since he did not campaign. He was assigned a public defender in the obscenity case late last year, which usually follows the filing of a petition claiming indigency.

Mark Plowden, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, told the Associated Press that McMaster would ask state police to investigate Greene if evidence were presented that someone other than Greene had paid the filing fee.

"No one has provided this office with any credible allegation or information suggesting criminal wrongdoing," Plowden said.

On Monday, Greene's vanquished opponent, Vic Rawl, a former state lawmaker, asked the state's Democratic Party leadership to overturn the outcome and order a new primary, but the state's election commission had already certified the results. A committee of the state Democratic Party will hold a hearing on Rawl's protest Thursday in Columbia.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday said he, too, had questions about Greene and supported Democratic calls for an investigation into his win and filing fee payment.

"If people believe the system is compromised -- I have a lot of respect for Congressman Clyburn -- if he believes it was compromised, yes, I'd call for an investigation," Graham told Politico.

By Garance Franke-Ruta  |  June 15, 2010; 4:57 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election , 44 The Obama Presidency  
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I'll bet you thought that the last comedian who would run for the Senate was Al Franken?

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | June 22, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

DeMint is one of our "usual suspects" voting against the general interest in favor of the slender corporate minority.

We desperately need to get rid of him and this was what came up?

Better get on this...or suffer the consequences.

Posted by: ThePoliticalStraycom | June 16, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

"investigate whether Greene improperly received financial help to induce him to run for office." Where was CREW when George Soros bought the election for BH O'Carter? I would use the expression "the pot calling the kettle black" - but I would be accused of racism. Oh, I forgot ... all definitionaly correct, true words in the dictionary are "racist."

Posted by: IQ168 | June 16, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I meant that to say "...perhaps disingenuously..."

Apparently, I need an editor.

Posted by: Iconoblaster | June 16, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

FredSmiley asks (perhaps ingenuously): "Where is any credible allegation that Mr. Greene accepted inappropriate payments?"

The man is unemployed, and swore to the court, only months ago, that he was indigent. The filing fee was $10,400.

If he had $10,000 of his own money, he wouldn't qualify for the assignment of a free lawyer... a public defender... in his pending obscenity case.

No more "credible allegation" of monkey-business is required... we have Greene's own affidavit swearing he was penniless, the fact that he is unemployed, and the additional fact that, somehow, he came up with over ten grand for the filing fee.

Do the math.

Posted by: Iconoblaster | June 16, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Where is any credible allegation that Mr. Greene accepted inappropriate payments? It is not in the least unusual for an unorthodox candidate to win a surprise victory in a scantly covered primary with less activity for a nomination to an office for which the other major party nominee is considered a shoo-in. (Such has happened in Sen. Inouye's races.) If the complainants are sincerely concerned with the integrity of the process, they better have more to go on than fantasmical conspiracy theories or they risk appearing as sore losers and obscuring any high-minded objectives.

Posted by: FredSmiley | June 16, 2010 2:36 AM | Report abuse

Memo To: The Bump
Subject: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

We aint embarrassed by the Speaker, we are very proud that she is standing up to misguided citizens like you. We are also very proud that she refrains from using the word aint in public, since it is not a word, and it conveys ignorance from users such as yourself

Posted by: makeitwright | June 15, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

A plot to embarrass Dimwitcrats? Aren't they way beyond that? I mean, if they ain't embarrassed by Pelosi, it's a lost cause.

The people have spoken, and Al Green is their choice.

Posted by: thebump | June 15, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Why isn't the FEC investigating this? And the FBI for that matter. Whoever tampered with the voting machines needs to be exposed and their tactics revealed or republicons will simply use the same tactic to undermine the integrity of every election in every state in the nation in November.

Posted by: John1263 | June 15, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Why isn't the FEC investigating this? And the FBI for that matter. Whoever tampered with the voting machines needs to be exposed and their tactics revealed or republicons will simply use the same tactic to undermine the integrity of every election in every state in the nation in November.

Posted by: John1263 | June 15, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: charlietuna6661 | June 15, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Dude1394 has a great point. The president (or in this case, through an ex-president) tried to keep OUT a legitimate, albeit very quirky, candidate in Pennsylvania.

In SC, a quirky candidate (to say the least) won and the concern is that he only won because someone paid him to run. But, the man didn't campaign. He spent no money. He has trouble with sentences. He has a felony charge posted against him.

I get the concern that someone paid him to run, but people in politics pay for stuff all the time. To say otherwise would be massive ignorance or just willful acceptance of what in any other business is called bribery (or I mean "working together on issues.")

The real issue seems to be that Democrats in SC spent very little time examining their candidates, and now the slightly odd newcomer has actually won.

Posted by: Practicewhatupreach | June 15, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

5100, has it hit you on the head that Rawls is NOT an incumbent?

I'm guessing not yet. Get a helmet on.

Posted by: minnesotacharm | June 15, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

I think if ALVIN GREENE were to be compared to most of the people in congress, he probably would look pretty clean in comparison. Watch this one play out, America, watch very closely. This is how THE ESTABLISHMENT reacts when you win and they lose. THE ESTABLISHMENT WILL DEMONIZE ALVIN GREENE FOR DARING TO RUN AGAINST THEM AND WINNING!

Posted by: barrysal | June 15, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Follow the money and everything will become clear, I'm sure. I think Clyburn is right. Smells like elephant dung.

Posted by: VAreader | June 15, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

@dude1394: Yes. I know it's complicated, but the idea is to prevent someone from influencing someone to misuse the power of a public office - but you weren't *really* confused, were you?

Posted by: cmckeonjr | June 15, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: swatkins1 | June 15, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I am a little confused here. So the president can offer a job for someone NOT to run for office, but someone cannot offer someone something TO run for office?

Posted by: dude1394 | June 15, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Has it hit anyone on the head that Greene's win came because of the incumbent. It does not matter what position on the ballot. How could he be a member of congress and the majority of people did not know his name. What the hell has he been doing in Washington for South Carolina constituents. And, the people of South Carolina should also blame themselves for not knowing who they vote for, shame on them. Clyburn should have used his position in Washington to support the best candidate, instead of spending so much time with redneck talking Heads like Joe Scarborough.

Posted by: 5100 | June 15, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Well, here you go again, South Carolina! Congratulations South Carolina Democrats for nominating a 32 yr. old man who is unemployed, living with his ill father, failed to campaign, and is up on obscenity charges!
The Democrats in South Carolina couldn't do better than THAT? The majority of them lined up to vote for someone they never heard of?
This would be hilarious - it is slap stick politics - if it weren't such a sad and dangerous commentary on what some people will do to gain power. They want the power in order to direct as much of the public's money into their own pockets as they can.
But, really, this time they may have over-reached and we may all be treated to South Carolina-as-a-Peter Seller's movie.
Live and coming you way soon!

Posted by: cms1 | June 15, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

"We Democrats just elected an unknown felon to be our senate nominee, because our Democrat primary elections are controlled by the Republicans."

Bitter Dim Chowderhead

Posted by: screwjob16 | June 15, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

"We Democrats think that attacking our own Senate nominee who was elected one week ago in a 60-40 landslide is a smart idea."

Dazed Confused Dims

Posted by: screwjob16 | June 15, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I think maybe Ellie Light gave Alvin Greene his filing fee. LOL!
[For a light hearted take on our present peril]

Posted by: libertyatstake | June 15, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

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