Among the more amazing items in Dan Bice's disclosure of Ron Johnson's receipt of a lump-sum, $10 million payment to cover campaign costs after the election is his umbrage over having to answer questions from Bice about the payment's propriety.
"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."That's your classic Tea Party complete-freedom attitude - - 'You can't talk to me about my business' - - bumping up against Johnson's position as an elected official working in a world of rules, regulations, codes and laws to protect a larger public interest.
He's a US Senator now, and he can't order journalists to keep their distance and expect they'll comply. It comes with the territory, and if you don't like it, don't run for office and bring your own rule book along.
Haughtiness aside, Johnson's own words poison his claim that the payment was legitimate deferred compensation and therefore raise no questions about whether it might be interpreted instead as a direct and prohibited corporate campaign donation.
Does this explanation from Johnson to Bice raise any question in your mind?
Unlike most deferred package deals, however, it appears that the company had not set aside a specified amount annually that would be paid out when he left the firm. Instead, Johnson said the $10 million payment was "an agreed-upon amount" that was determined at the end of his tenure with the company.
Agreed upon with whom?
"That would be me," he said.