If the only thing on your gift wish list this holiday season is a Cameo greeting from Marjorie Taylor Greene, stranger things have happened. While it’s no secret that the Georgia representative spends a lot of her time harassing her colleagues and waxing philosophical about Jewish space lasers, it turns out she has another quirk: racking up some pretty hefty bills with seemingly no plan to pay them.
Taking a page from her hero Donald Trump’s playbook, Greene has accrued a large invoice with attorney, fellow MAGA, and friend to QAnon followers Lin Wood, but has yet to pay him one penny. As Roger Sollenberger writes for Daily Beast:
“Wood, the Georgia defamation lawyer who has floated some of the fringiest of fringe theories about ex-President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss, posted a note on the Telegram messaging app over the weekend blasting Greene and claiming she still owed him for previous legal work.
But it turns out that Wood was not representing his former ally in her personal capacity. Instead, his services went to Greene’s campaign committee as it fought two defamation disputes. Worse still for Greene is Wood’s claim that the Greene campaign has never paid him, raising a number of questions about the legality of their arrangement.”
Being a deadbeat is one thing, but the fact that Wood’s work was for Greene’s campaign could spell bad news for Rep. Crazy Eyes from a legal perspective. Daily Beast spoke with four experts on campaign finance laws who confirmed that Greene’s failure to pay this bill is actually a violation of federal financial reporting laws. “They also raised concerns about illegal corporate and in-kind contributions, with some experts pointing to two possibilities in other legal realms: breach of contract, and, in a word, ‘theft,’ if Wood were to take an austere line in state court,” Sollenberger writes.
The funniest part of the story? (And by “funniest,” we mean “most pathetic.”) The total sum owed to Wood is… $5,000.
While federal election law allows attorneys to volunteer their services in certain instances, defamation cases are not covered, explained Brett Kappel, campaign finance specialist at Harmon Curran.
“If [Wood] sent an invoice for legal services, this wouldn’t fit under the category of legal services lawyers can provide for free,” Brett Kappel, a campaign finance specialist at Harmon Curran, explained to Daily Beast. “So the Federal Election Commission would say that these costs must be reflected on her reports. It could be what’s called a ‘disputed debt,’ but you still have to report that, along with who did the work and what it was for.”
“A worse interpretation for Greene,” Kappel added, “would be that the campaign accepted an illegal corporate contribution But at the end of the day, a campaign can’t have someone do this kind of legal work without it being disclosed.”