Thursday, February 23, 2006

Parties Trade Blows Over Caucus Involvement

The state Democratic and Republican parties today traded accusations over each party's gubernatorial candidates, and each side tried to tie the other to the caucus scandal.

The Dems started it off, in a release titled "Green and Walker: What Did They Know, When Did They Know It?"

An excerpt from that release:

Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Joe Wineke today blasted Republican gubernatorial candidates Mark Green and Scott Walker for dodging reporters' questions about their ties to the caucus scandal. For two straight days, Green has reportedly avoided answering reporters' questions on the topic - despite attending numerous public events in Madison and Milwaukee.

"Mark Green and Scott Walker have tried to sidestep the caucus scandal by saying that they never knew of illegal campaign activity - but it now turns out that employees of both were involved," Wineke said. ...

Green, who was in the GOP leadership as caucus chairman for the Assembly Republicans, was a member of the Assembly from 1993-98. Walker was in the Assembly from 1993-2002.

According to media reports:

*A graphic artist for the Assembly Republican Caucus spent "virtually 100 percent" of his time doing "campaign-related activities";

*Precautions were taken by Assembly Republican staff members to avoid being caught campaigning on state time;

*Green's current chief of staff, Chris Tuttle, worked as media director for the Assembly Republican caucus and "regularly approved campaign materials";

*Tuttle next worked in Green's Assembly office before joining Green's congressional office; and

*Bruce Pfaff, Walker's campaign manager, worked on Scott Jensen's staff and delivered work orders for campaign brochures.

Then the GOP responded with a release that tracked the Dem release virtually word for word over the first two paragraphs, only substituting Gov. Jim Doyle's name for the names of the GOP candidates. Even the title was a virtual match: "DOYLE: What Did He Know, When Did He Know It?"

From that release:

The Executive Director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Rick Wiley, blasted Governor Jim Doyle for dodging reporter's questions about his ties to the caucus scandal. For years, Governor Doyle has avoided answering questions on the topic.

"Governor Doyle has tried to sidestep the caucus scandal by saying he never knew of illegal campaign activity - but now it turns out that several of his employees were involved," Wiley said, "For someone who was the top law enforcement officer in the state as Attorney General and his office was directly involved in the investigation of the caucus scandal, to say that he didn't know what was going on defies credibility. Why won't Jim Doyle come clean about what he knew and when he knew it?"

... several members of his campaign staff and administration were implicated in wire transfers of campaign money, operation of an "independent" issue advocacy group from state offices and campaigning at the taxpayer's expense.


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