Further details of Evans agreement
From Quad Cities Online...
The Friends of Lane Evans will pay the Federal Election Commission $185,000 in a consent judgment filed this week in federal court.
The agreement will let the defendants settle the case without admitting or denying the allegations made in the suit.
The FEC filed the lawsuit in January 2004 in U.S. District Court, Rock Island, against the Friends of Lane Evans and its treasurer, Samuel M. Gilman; the 17th District Victory Fund and its treasurer; and the Rock Island Central Democratic Committee and its treasurer, John A. Gianulis.
The suit was filed after the Rock Island County Republican Party filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission in 2000 regarding the 17th District Victory Fund. The complaint included 17 causes of action relating to the 1998 and 2000 election campaigns when Rep. Evans, D-Rock Island, defeated challenger Mark Baker.
The agreement calls for the Friends of Lane Evans to pay $50,000 within 30 days and nine equal payments of $15,000 every 30 days after until the full amount is paid, the judgment states.
The Rock Island Democratic Central committee will pay $30,000 within 30 days and the 17th District Victory Fund will pay all funds remaining in its accounts as of June 9 -- the day the parties agreed to a stipulation for consent judgment.
The agreement calls for the 17th District Victory Fund to end its status as a federally registered political committee after it has paid the FEC.
A jury trial in the case was set for Sept. 12, but, according to the stipulation, the defendants agreed to the consent judgment to avoid more legal expenses.
In a statement Monday, Rep. Evans' office called the Republican Party's complaint a "political witch hunt." It claimed the 17th District Victory Fund did nothing wrong and was created to help counteract large amounts of money the Republican Party was using to try to defeat the congressman.
The Rock Island County Republican Party "wanted to do in a courtroom what it could not do at the ballot box," the statement said. "We agreed to settle this matter because it wasn't worth the time and money it would take to conclude it in court."
Tom Getz, chairman of the Rock Island County Republican Party, said he was satisfied with the judgment and doesn't think the defendants would have agreed to settle if they thought they were innocent of the FEC allegations.
He noted Mr. Baker nearly beat Rep. Evans in the 1998 election and thinks things could have been different if the alleged violations hadn't occurred.
"We think we would have won the election if it wasn't for the fraudulent activities of the Lane Evans committees," he said.
The FEC claimed the 17th District Victory Fund is an "alter ego" of the congressman's campaign committee that took donations and spent money to directly benefit the campaign. Donations to that fund would have violated statutory limits on campaign contributions if they were made directly to the Evans' campaign.
It also claimed that Mr. Evans' campaign committee and Victory Fund were intertwined and that the Victory Fund didn't have a charter, members or regular meetings, according to the complaint.
The Rock Island Democratic Central Committee was accused of making in-kind contributions to Mr. Evans' campaign using prohibited sources. The suit claimed Mr. Gianulis failed to make disclosures detailing those expenditures.