A plaintiff by the name of Jason Auerbach, a former volunteer for Candidate Bill Buresh - filed a lawsuit against Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic alleging illegal coordination between two distinct election committees run by Dimitrijevic.
Wisconsin State Statute 11.10(4) states, "No Candidate may establish more than on personal campaign committee." Auerbach told El Conquistador earlier, "When the same people in her campaign are the same people in her PAC [Next Generation Milwaukee], that alone is at minimum grounds for allegation."
As reported earlier, some of the lines were blurred, intentional or not, between Dimitrijevic's personal reelection committee and Next Generation Milwaukee - a PAC she set up to help elect younger and more "progressive" members to the County Board. Auerbach has documentation showing that both of her committees - which are supposed to be separate functioning committees - held fundraisers simultaneously at the same restaurant. Also, the Facebook accounts of both committees have posted identical messages with identical time stamps. Both examples, according to Auerbach, show the functions of both committees are sometimes indistinguishable.
At today's hearing, Auerbach wasn't able to show he suffered irreparable harm from the illegal coordination of Dimitrijevic's PAC, but his case survived attempts at dismissal. This means the case was permitted to proceed because the court did not consider Auerbach's allegations to be baseless. A status conference has been scheduled for June 4th at 11:00 AM, which will determine the scheduling of a trial date. In a press release, Auerbach said, "Though I was unable to demonstrate that I am suffering irreparable harm by this committee, the court did allow the case to proceed on the merits that have already been filed."
Illegal coordination is not the only allegation Jason Auerbach has made against Dimitrijevic's committees. Earlier this month, Auerbach alleged that Dimitrijevic failed to file three separate campaign finance reports - two last spring and one for this spring's pre-primary. Dimitrijevic responded that the charges were unfounded and false. To add more credence, Dimitrijevic told followers that she had authored the first bill to require the online posting of County campaign finance reports.
Shortly after Auerbach complained about the three non-filed reports, Dimitrijevic's treasurer Brian Randell filed the reports with the Milwaukee County Board of Election Commissioners. Why did Randell filed two campaign finance reports a year late only a day after Auerbach filed his complaint? Randell explained they were in compliance with Wisconsin campaign finance law at all times and left it at that. So far, Auerbach's allegations have been right on the money. After his first complaint was filed, Dimitrijevic's PAC filed their paperwork to comply with state law. And today, Auerbach's lawsuit wasn't dismissed because his allegation had merit.
The irony shouldn't be lost on our readership. Dimitrijevic claimed she authored a campaign finance bill no doubt in an effort to increase government transparency. Yet, she had failed to file her own campaign finance reports and was compelled to do so after a self-made campaign finance watchdog filed a complaint. Instead of electing more progressive members to the County Board, perhaps we should just aim for the watchdog types like Jason Auerbach.