Phil Gordon Payments to Girlfriend Okay, Ex-Chief Justice Finds
Gordon is in the process of getting divorced from his wife, Christa Severns. His team says he did not begin dating his fundraiser, Elissa Mullany, until after he was separated.
As we previously explained, the law forbids politicians from using their campaign funds for personal benefit. It extends that same prohibition on anyone related to them by "blood or marriage."
But there's no prohibition on using your campaign to benefit your girlfriend. So, though Gordon has paid Mullany $140,000 to raise campaign funds in the last two years, even as only minimal funds have been raised, he's in the clear.
We'd certainly dispute that -- as we pointed out in our column at the time, Zlaket was opining on a complaint related to the arrests of New Times execs Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin without actually reading the complaint filed by New Times' lawyers. D'oh!
But in this case, we can't argue with Zlaket's conclusion. Basically, it's not okay to pay your wife, but it's totally fine to pay your mistress -- so Gordon is within the letter of the law. The moral of this story makes us giggle, but there you have it.
Interestingly, Zlaket did call out Gordon for some excessive payments that we also fixated on: the $8,000 monthly retainer fees the mayor paid his girlfriend throughout 2008, even though little fundraising was accomplished at the time.
Gordon has since switched to commission-based payments.