July 24, 2014

Ozanne campaign spending report missing details

Dane County District Attorney Ishmael Ozanne

Dane County District Attorney Ishmael Ozanne

A candidate for Wisconsin’s top law enforcement post failed to explain almost one-third of his campaign’s expenses for the first half of the year, as required by law.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne is one of three Democrats running in a primary for attorney general on August 12. In a report filed with the state this week, he did not list how $33,000 of the $97,000 his campaign spent between January and June was used. The reports list a number of checks with no recipient, as well as a number of electronic withdrawals that don’t include a reason. One of the withdrawals was made from a New Orleans ATM in May.

A campaign official says they just ran out of time and plan to revise the report to add more details.

Ozanne is running against Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ and State Representative Jon Richards of Milwaukee in the Democratic primary. He has only raised about a third as much as each of his Democratic opponents, and his finance report shows he only had about $3,400 on hand at the end of June.


Walker, Burke tied in new Marquette poll

Mary Burke and Governor Scott Walker (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson, file)

Mary Burke and Governor Scott Walker (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson, file)

Republican Governor Scott Walker is slightly ahead of his likely Democratic challenger Mary Burke among registered voters in the latest Marquette Law School Poll. Though, Burke leads by one point among likely voters.

Poll Director Charles Franklin says the numbers haven’t changed much from the last poll in May. 

Walker gets the support of 46 percent of registered voters and Burke receives 45 percent. Among registered voters likely to vote, Burke leads Walker 47 46 percent — a statistical dead heat. “Really no meaningful change from the May poll to this poll in July,” says Franklin.

Among independents Walker narrowly leads Burke, 45 percent to 44. In May Walker was ahead among independents by a higher margin, 49 percent to 40.

The poll was conducted July 17-20 and included 804 registered voters. The margin of error is 3.5 percent on the full sample, 4.3 percentage points among likely voters.

Burke for Wisconsin Communications Director Joe Zepecki released a statement following the release of the poll. He states, in part:

“Wisconsin voters know we need a new direction, and are responding enthusiastically to Mary’s comprehensive plan, based on her success in the private sector, to grow the economy and create more good paying jobs.  …  Walker’s barrage of attacks are about one thing – distracting voters from his abysmal record on job creation as his vote, job approval and favorability continue to slip.”

Walker claims Burke trying to ‘have it both ways’ (AUDIO)

Gov. Scott Walker speaks to supporters at a campaign event. (Photo: Andrew Beckett)

Gov. Scott Walker speaks to supporters at a campaign event. (Photo: Andrew Beckett)

Even though the general election in Wisconsin’s race for governor is still months away, the campaigns of both incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker and likely Democratic challenger Mary Burke are already shifting into high gear. Both campaigns have been out with ads that spar over the issue of outsourcing jobs and Burke’s role at Trek Bicycle, the family-owned company started by her father.

Walker’s campaign has run two ads in the past week that argue Burke, who worked as an executive at Trek, has personally benefitted from the company’s decision to outsource jobs overseas. Burke and the head of Trek, her brother, have maintained she had no role in those decisions and have criticized Walker for attacking a company that employs a thousand workers in Wisconsin.

Speaking with reporters in Madison Wednesday, Walker stood by the decision to go after Burke on the outsourcing issue and her role at Trek. The governor says voters deserve to know both sides of the issue, since Burke has campaigned on her experience at Trek as a reason to support her candidacy. Walker said “you can’t have it both ways if you’re Mary Burke. You can’t say like me for the things you like about this company, but ignore the other things that are out there.”

AUDIO: Gov. Scott Walker (:45)

Walker also noted that Burke’s own campaign ads made outsourcing an issue before he brought it up, by trying to link him to state tax credits that were given by his administration to companies that outsourced job. “She started out with the argument. She made the case about this several weeks ago. We’re pointing out the hypocrisy out of that.”

Walker says he’s running on his record, but claims Burke is trying to run from hers.

State Republicans file complaint over Trek ad

Mary Burke and Governor Scott Walker (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson, file)

Mary Burke and Governor Scott Walker (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson, file)

The state Republican Party is accusing the Trek Bicycle Corporation of using corporate tax dollars to help a Democratic candidate for governor.

The Party argues Trek is trying to aid Democrat Mary Burke’s bid for governor with a full-page advertisement it ran in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other papers over the weekend. It criticizes Republican Governor Scott Walker over an ad his campaign released last week, which implies Mary Burke profited by Trek’s decision to outsource jobs to China.

Burke is the daughter of Trek’s founder, a former executive, and her brother currently runs the company. Both she and the company have argued that Walker’s ad attacks a Wisconsin-based company that employs 1,000 workers in the state. The newspaper ad makes no mention of Burke’s ties to the company.

In a complaint filed with the state Government Accountability Board, the Wisconsin GOP argues the ad violates state laws against corporations making contributions to candidate committees. It estimates the ad would have cost Trek over $22,000 to run and it does nothing to dispute the facts Governor Walker laid out in his original campaign ad about how “Mary Burke accumulated her wealth by profiting from a company that outsourced Wisconsin jobs to places like China.”

In a statement, Trek spokeswoman Marina Marich said “The Governor’s television ad clearly attacked Trek, and Trek is entitled to defend itself under the First Amendment by running its own advertisements containing the true facts. We are confident that our letter published in newspaper advertisements is constitutionally protected free speech that fully complies with Wisconsin law.”

Elections agency bans poll observers from using cameras

The state Government Accountability Board has voted to continue banning the use of cameras in polling places by election observers.

State lawmakers had asked that the board allow the use of cameras, unless it would disrupt the voting process. State Elections Administrator Mike Haas says board members were concerned that would be the case, so they voted Monday on rules that keep a long-standing ban in place.

Haas says the board heard testimony indicating that “some voters might feel harassed, or intimidate, by potentially having a bunch of cameras trained on voters and/or election inspectors.” Another concern was that cameras could create privacy issues because of a new rule that allows election observers to be as close as three feet from where voters sign in. He says that could actually allow an observer to see much closer than they normally could from the required distance, which could invade the privacy of voters.

Also at issue is the short time frame before the August partisan primary and the general election in November. Haas says it could be difficult to train over 1,800 municipal clerks on how to deal with observers who bring out cameras, who would then also have to train thousands of poll workers across the state.

Lawmakers could revisit the rule at a later date, although it’s unlikely they could order a change before next month’s primary or the general election.