Empower Wisconsin | Nov. 2, 2020
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel left out a key bit of information in a recent story that one Republican staffer characterized as an “in-kind contribution” to Democrats vying for legislative seats.
The left-leaning newspaper asserts that suburban Milwaukee Republicans long safe in conservative districts suddenly find themselves on the defensive. Dem challengers and their allies are dumping in big money into races they believe they can win.
That’s why, or so goes the Journal Sentinel’s narrative, Republican candidates and their allies are firing back with negative mailers — particularly in the 13th Assembly District, where Rep. Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) is facing a challenge from registered nurse and health care executive Sara Rodriguez (D-Town of Brookfield).
“More than $609,000 has been spent for and against both candidates and the relentless negative mailers against Rodriguez underscore Republicans’ concerns in the area, according to a recent tally by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign,” the story states.
Just against Rodriguez?
The says nothing of the nasty ads and mailers Rodriguez and her liberal cronies have been pumping out.
A review of campaign finance records shows outside groups have reported approximately $250,000 in spending either to support Rodriguez or attack Hutton. The attack ads and mailers total about $132,000. Mega union SEIU has sent out several mailers hitting Hutton.
Rodriguez had raised a total of $332,054.95 as of her Fall Pre-election report, filed late last month. About $184,000 of the total came from committees. Her campaign had spent north of $315,000. It appears the negative ad distribution in her campaign spending was significant.
The nastiest of the mailers falsely portrays Hutton as a businessman who “personally benefitted from federal help to his business while denying Wisconsin needed resources.” Hutton, the owner of a Milwaukee-based logistics company, an industrial coating firm and a partner in a southern Wisconsin manufacturing business, applied for and received a federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. He, like tens of thousands of Wisconsin business owners, used the funding to keep his employees on the job after Gov. Tony Evers shut down much of Wisconsin’s economy through his public health orders.
Also omitted from the attacks ads is that PPP by law had to be used for payroll or other direct expenses of the applicants.
The bipartisan pandemic relief package has been touted for its success in protecting more than 30 million jobs, according to the Small Business Administration. More than 85,000 businesses in Wisconsin took advantage of the program, helping them keep some 1 million Wisconsinites on the payroll.
It also saved them from the disaster that has been the state Department of Workforce Development’s Unemployment Insurance claims process. Tens of thousands of out-of-work Wisconsinites have been forced to wait months for their claims to be resolved in large part because of the agency’s incompetence and the Evers administration’s failure to effectively respond to what promised to be a flood of claimants.
“It’s a very specific program that gave us all that lifeline which otherwise would have been devastating to so many workers and their families,” Hutton said.
The state representative said the Journal Sentinel decided to omit the information about the attack ads from Rodriguez and her liberal supporters because those facts didn’t fit into the narrative the newspaper was pushing. Only Republicans and their friends send out nasty mailers and attack ads, according to the Journal Sentinel’s story.
“The amount of outside money that has been brought into these campaigns for the sole purpose to slander, even lie about us as Republican candidates is deliberate,” Hutton added. “It’s concerning to see the half-truths from the Journal Sentinel.”