By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON, Wis. – And now the left bites back.
Wisconsin’s wild political ride continued Monday, when a left-leaning group with ties to Hillary Clinton announced it is asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
Interesting that the American Democracy Legal Fund pushes out its plea to Obama administration top gun Eric Holder just as Mary Burke, the Democrat’s candidate for governor, is embroiled further in a major plagiarism scandal.
The American Democracy Legal Fund, run by liberal power brokers David Brock and Brad Woodhouse, wants the Justice Department to investigate whether Walker sponsored and ensured passage of mine legislation in exchange for campaign contributions from northwest Wisconsin mine developer Gogebic Taconite.
“Wisconsin voters deserve to know whether their state’s highest elected official made a devil’s bargain with Gogebic Taconite, selling out Wisconsin in order to secure his own political future,” the liberal group states in a widely distributed press release.
ADLF, it seems, is trying to make political hay with mainstream media accounts a few weeks ago asserting that court documents indicate illegal coordination after the developer of the proposed $1.5 billion mine dumped $700,000 into campaign funds to defend Republicans in Wisconsin partisan recall campaigns in 2011 and 2012.
Only one problem with the allegation: Two judges have debunked the legal theory by prosecutors of a secret investigation that insists dozens of conservative groups illegally coordinated with Walker’s campaign. No illegal coordination, no bribery, as Republican attack machine ADLF suggests in its complaint to the Justice Department.
“Less than a year after Gov. Walker won the recall election, he signed into law mining legislation that was extremely favorable to the interests of Gogebic Taconite, allowing the company to build what has been described as ‘the world’s largest open-pit iron ore mine,” the group writes in its letter.
But the legislation doesn’t “allow” the company to build a mine, it merely streamlines the state permitting process. Gogebic Taconite is a long way from state Department of Natural Resources approval, and still must go through a more involved regulatory approval process at the federal level, with bureaucracies controlled by the Obama administration.
That Walker and almost all Republican lawmakers supported the legislation should come as no surprise: They have, for several years, been pushing for the resumption of iron ore mining in northern Wisconsin as a way to boost the Badger State economy and create jobs in an area that was hardest hit by the recession.
The brains behind this latest campaign against Walker comes from, as Politico recently put it, the self-described right-wing hitman-turned-Clinton enforcer David Brock. Brock is the head of liberal propaganda machine Media Matters, and he recently took over left-leaning watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
“Brock was elected chairman of the group’s board … after laying out a multifaceted expansion intended to turn the group into a more muscular — and likely partisan — attack dog, according to sources familiar with the move,” Politico noted in a piece last month.
And then there’s Brock’s henchman, Brad Woodhouse, whose lefty resume includes a stint with the Democratic National Committee, a strategist for President Barack Obama, and now as the president of Democratic super PAC, American Bridge.
These boys are BIG backers of Hillary Clinton.
Their letter to the Justice Department comes as Burke, lagging just a bit behind Walker in the latest Marquette Law School poll, is caught in a firestorm of controversy following revelations last week that her campaign lifted large portions of the Democrat’s jobs plan from proposals by other failed Democratic candidates for governor.
Buzzfeed, which has had its own PR black eyes with plagiarism, reported late Thursday that Burke’s plan, “Invest for Success” pilfers entire passages from the jobs plans laid out by Delaware Democratic Gov. Jack Markell in 2008, and Democratic gubernatorial candidates Ward Cammack of Tennessee in 2009 and John Gregg of Indiana in 2012.
Burke campaign spokesman Joe Zepecki told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Friday that a consultant blamed for pilfering the passages was let go as soon the camp was made aware of the story, first broken by BuzzFeed.
Zepecki defended the swiping, telling the newspaper the sections represented “fewer than 10 paragraphs of a 49-page plan.”
BuzzFeed has since reported more instances of apparent plagiarism, including in Burke’s veterans and rural communities plans.
Burke’s campaign has not answered repeated requests for comment from Wisconsin Reporter.
The governor’s spokeswoman did not return an email request for comment.
Republicans blasted Burke on Friday following the revelations, with some calling on the candidate to drop out of the race. Walker did not join that chorus.
“It’s a sad day for Wisconsin when the Democratic nominee for Governor misleads voters by offering a plagiarized jobs plan, in which she has staked her entire candidacy,” said Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign manager Stephan Thompson in a statement. “Wisconsin deserves better, and its (sic) clear that Mary Burke cannot be trusted to lead our state.”
Joe Fadness, executive director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, quipped that Burke needs a lesson in business ethics “because even eighth-graders know that you shouldn’t copy the work of others.”