Congressman Ron Kind calls it an assault on his character and the worst kind of mud-slinging. Two doctors at Oak-Leaf Surgical Hospital in Eau Claire said the La Crosse Democrat wanted campaign contributions before meeting with the hospital’s doctors three years ago. And one surgeon eventually agreed to raise $10,000. Doctor Michael Smith and an unnamed surgeon sent sworn affidavits of their claims to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Dan Bice. And he published them this morning – a week before Kind’s election contest with State Senate Republican Dan Kapanke. Kind’s staff also provided affidavits refuting the allegations.
The meeting took place in 2007, when the doctors opposed a bill that would have banned any new hospitals owned by physicians – and prohibited expansions of current doctor-owned facilities. Smith said he was against giving the money to Kind’s campaign, but the bill would have hurt their hospital – and they had to let Kind know it. Bice said the two doctors have since given around five-thousand dollars to Kapanke. Smith told Bice he supports the opponent of someone who quote, “charges their constituency in order to meet with them about important issues in their district.” But Kind said he has never asked people or organizations to make campaign contributions to meet with him. “That claim is a lie,” he told Bice.