Fieger acquitted of reimbursing—Er, paying bonuses — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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Fieger acquitted of reimbursing—Er, paying bonuses

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“Everything is permitted unless it’s specifically prohibited,” Geoffrey Fieger told a Detroit federal jury, denying that he took advantage of a loophole in the law when he reimbursed employees for campaign contributions. “That’s what a lot of lawyers do—look for what’s permitted,” he said.

Fieger was acquitted in June of multiple charges of conspiracy, making false statements and giving illegal campaign contributions in a case in which prosecutors argued the high-profile Southfield attorney had asked his employees to contribute to John Edwards’ 2004 presidential campaign and then paid them back.

The government said the donations and subsequent reimbursements were an attempt to skirt laws limiting how much an individual can donate to a political campaign.

Fieger testified that employees of his law firm made the contributions without Fieger’s knowledge. He said the fact that he later paid employees the same amount they donated was a separate matter. What the prosecutors called reimbursements, Fieger called bonuses. Fieger said he and his attorneys scoured campaign finance laws and believe “No court in history ever said reimbursement is a crime.”

One juror said the government had failed to prove that Fieger purposely broke the law and noted that the transactions were fully recorded in the law firm’s accounting records.

Had he been found guilty, Fieger could have faced up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. A separate obstruction of justice charge would have carried up to 10 years and $250,000.

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