Monday, March 21, 2011

Stone Campaign's History of "Volunteers"

The last time that we read about Tim Russell in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, it was about a possible John Doe investigation that may involve former Walker staffers, a donor and the Walker campaign. Today another MJS report updated us on the most recent activities of this Walker operative. It appears that Russell is now trying to help Jeff Stone's campaign for Milwaukee County executive. What kind of help is he offering? Well, recently he went to the county court house and pulled the divorce file of Stone's opponent, Chris Abele. The Stone campaign described this Walker operative as merely a campaign "volunteer". I don't know about you but when I hear the word "volunteer" i think of phone banking and maybe lit dropping. The one thing that I don't think about is a campaign "volunteer" pouring over the divorce records of the opponent. I wonder if there are more Stone "volunteers" doing things like this?

We shouldn't be too surprised that the Stone campaign would play dumb about the role of this long time Walker operative. Past Stone campaigns have played the same kinds of games when they have received this kind of "volunteer" help.

During the original trial of former Republican Speaker Scott Jensen, several documents mentioning Jeff Stone were admitted into evidence. In one media report at that time, Stone admitted that former caucus workers may have helped him with his 1998 campaign while on state time but that he wasn't aware of it. Maybe he wasn't sure because he assumed that they were all just simple campaign "volunteers". [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2/27/06]

Media reports during that 1998 campaign did note that unidentified GOP operatives were working to help Stone in that race. In fact the media also detailed just how personal and nasty that campaign was becoming. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/23/98]

Even the 1998 campaign wasn't the first time that Jeff Stone received help from this specific brand of "volunteer". When the former director of the Assembly Republican Caucus, testified during the original Scott Jensen trial, he revealed that he did on-the-job campaigning in 1996 for Jeff Stone's failed run for the state Assembly. He said that he was ordered by GOP bosses to stop helping a La Crosse campaign so that he could go manage the Stone campaign "as soon as possible". [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2/28/06]

The Stone campaign can play dumb about the recent activities of Tim Russell but they are just going through the same motions as they have in the past. When faced with a competitive campaign and a formidable opponent, Jeff Stone has consistently relied on and benefited directly from this same brand of GOP operative. Unfortunately the tone of the campaign usually suffered because of it. So if the past is any indication we can fully expect Stone's special "volunteers" to increasingly help steer this race into that same nasty direction.

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