Civil Charges Recommended for Fieger Case

By: Tony Tagliavia
By: Tony Tagliavia

Special Prosecutor Patrick Shannon announced Saturday he's reccommending civil charges -- meaning a lawsuit -- in the case involving Detroit attorney Geoffrey Fieger and the political action committee Citizens for Judicial Reform.

"Someone used bogus names, bogus addresses and with the intent to have a PAC that there would be no oversight of the act," Shannon said.

Just who that someone is will now be up to the Secretary of State's office to figure out.

Shannon would not say if he believed Fieger was that someone who improperly founded a group trying to oust a state Supreme Court justice.

If the state does file suit against violators of campaign finance laws, offenders would have to pay either $1,000 for each offense, or the total amount of the allgedly misused cash -- in this case, nearly half a million dollars.

Fieger now admits he used that amount of money to fund a campaign against Justice Stephen Markman. Since then, prosecutors have questioned whether it was done properly.

Some potential evidence in the case is tied up in court arguments between prosecutors and lawyers for Fieger. Shannon says he thinks that evidence will surface in the coming investigation -- if it's relevant. He says it's more important to move the case forward.

"There was no one coming forward to make a decision. Someone had to come forward to the batter's box. I did it," Shannon said.

Michigan campaign finance reform advocates say the question shouldn't necessarily be whether what Fieger did was technically legal. They say the law should be changed.

"I think it's time to take a step back and realize the act is wholly deficient. It's inadequate for providing limits and accountability in money in Michigan political campaigns," Michigan Campaign Finance Network Executive Director Rich Robinson said.

But the Secretary of State's office will have to rely on the current campaign finance act to determine if civil charges will be filed.

There's no word on just when that investigation will get underway.

-- In Lansing, Tony Tagliavia, News 10.


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