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Feingold, death threats and disrespect in WI's recall land

By   /   May 18, 2012  /   No Comments

By Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON — Guess who’s coming to dinner?

Russ Feingold, as in former Wisconsin U.S. senator.-turned-professor-and-author Russ Feingold.

The man who broke the heart of just about every Wisconsin Democrat last summer when he said he would not be a candidate in a recall election against Republican Gov. Scott Walker, will attend a fundraiser for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the candidate the Dems got.

“You are cordially invited to join special guest Russ Feingold,” from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, at the Majestic Theatre in Madison. That is, you are cordially invited if you want to kick in some cash.

Sponsorships are available, at $2,500 for the pre-reception (give or raise), $1,000 for host, and $500 for co-host. We’re not talking 99 percent cash here.

Accusations and denials

Borrowing liberally from the late, great Amy Winehouse, The Democratic Party of Wisconsin tried to claim collusion and Reggie said, “No, no, no.”

The party this week said it is filing a complaint with the Government Accountability Board, to be forwarded to the Dane County District attorney (some would argue the back porch of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin), claiming Walker’s campaign coordinated illegally with the state Department of Workforce Development.

The charge is that the campaign came out with a video celebrating new DWD data that showed Wisconsin gained 23,000 jobs last year just hours after the report was released.

"For (Governor Walker) to have just plopped an ad out right after he announces (the new job numbers) shows that his campaign was working with state resources to create this ad," Democratic Party spokesman and defender of justice Graeme Zielinski told Newsradio 620 WTMJ in Milwaukee.

DWD Secretary Reggie Newson, when asked about the matter by Wisconsin Reporter on Thursday, put it bluntly: “There was no collusion or collaboration with the campaign. Period.”

“People can make all the accusations they want,” Newson said. “We have a responsibility at Workforce Development to provide information to taxpayers, job seekers and employers in the state of Wisconsin, to make sure we have accurate, complete data.”

As politically divided as this state is, nastiness appears to be nonpartisan.

Federal authorities on Friday charged William O. Diederich, of Madison, with threatening to blow up the offices of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

Diederich is accused of repeatedly threatening to shoot Democrats and others supporting the Walker recall in phone calls he placed to the party’s Madison headquarters in January, February and March, says an FBI affidavit.

Diederich threatened in other calls to shoot any candidates who ran against Walker, and that he would be taking "head shots" at Democrats on the streets around the Capitol. He said during another call that he has a concealed carry permit and that "people better be wearing bulletproof vests,” according to the State Journal.

As for the state of political civility in Wisconsin, a protester on Friday screamed out an obscenity during Friday’s Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial ceremony at the Capital.

As Walker was beginning his statements remembering the police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty, the protester hollered, “Scott Walker, you suck!”

City of Algoma police officer Craig Kolbeck, chairman of the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial, said many in the audience were disappointed by the disruption.

“We stressed that people need to put their differences aside and remember what the purpose of this ceremony is,” Kolbeck told Wisconsin Reporter. “It’s not just a law enforcement perspective. You have to look at the survivors themselves … That’s disrespecting everybody, survivors and law enforcement.”

Survivors of some of the fallen were in attendance.

Kolbeck said a number of protesters picketed just down from the memorial ceremony, and most were respectful and civilized.

“The bottom line is we need to show respect for those officers,” he said.