State Democrats’ Playbook Falls into GOP Hands; Questions Arise About Improper Coordination

by Sean Hackbarth

Republicans got a hold of the State Democrats’ campaign playbook, and the Democrats are crying foul.

One question is where were the documents found. Republicans claim they were left by a copy machine in the state capital. State Senate Minority Leader Judy Robson accused Republicans of theft and may ask the Dane County district attorney to investigate:

“Somebody knew (Miller’s) routine and rifled through his case,” she said. “It had to be a Republican that rifled through his case.”

If the GOP is right then the Democrats have been using state resources for campaigning. That’s a big no-no. People are in jail or going to jail for that. If the Democrats are right then it’s a poor-man’s version of Watergate with Plumbers wearing khakis and a tie. In a comment Owen Robinson thinks State Senator Mark Miller’s claim that the documents were stolen is “implausible:”

Think of all that would have had to of come together for it to happen.

1) Miller accidentally took the other guy’s binder that looks exactly like his.

2) Miller took off his coat (in late May) and left the binder in the room.

3) A Republican person happened by and decided to take pages out of the binder, copy them, and put the binder back – without being noticed by anyone.

Sure, it’s possible, but highly implausible. Why is it so hard to believe that some Dem staffer was making copies and left a set or partial set by the copier? That happens all the time in the business world where one person’s copies ends up in another person’s stack.

A second question regards the relationships between the State Senate Democratic Committee and outside independent groups like Progressive Majority Wisconsin and Wisconsin Citizen Action. One of the documents has a hand-written note saying to “bring senator or staff.” In another document the big union AFSCME is supposed to be “kept in the loop.”

Progressive Majority Wisconsin fears nothing:

Yes, the “shadowy” Progressive Majority Wisconsin works hand-in-hand with candidates and our support for progressive candidates is quite public (see: our entire freakin’ website).

We are not and do not pretend to be acting independently or uninvolved with candidates. Instead, we are upfront at all times about our activities.

Unlike real “shadowy” groups like All Children Matter, we register as a Wisconsin Political Action Committee (PDF) and publicly disclose all our activities with the State Elections Board to fully comply with the letter and spirit of Wisconsin election laws.

We are as transparent a political group as there is.

Of course if there was any wrong-doing the Democratic State Senators and any staff involved would be first to face legal trouble.

There’s also this from Journal Sentinel reporter Patrick Marley:

Elections Board lawyer George Dunst said that at first glance, the relationship between the Democrats and outside groups appeared legal.

Progressive Majority Wisconsin is a Political Action Committee. Because of that status it is limited to donating $1000 to any state senate candidate. That includes both money and in-kind donations. They’ve been doing a lot of weblog posts against GOP candidate Bill McReynolds which helps Democrat John Lehman. I wonder what’s the value of those posts? And that doesn’t include any other assistance they’ve given to Lehman.

“GOP Sees Rival’s Strategy

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3 Responses to “State Democrats’ Playbook Falls into GOP Hands; Questions Arise About Improper Coordination”


Tactical Error…

The Wisconsin Democrats are now suggesting that the strategy documents which Owen has been reporting about were stolen from a State Representative’s briefcase. This gets them off the hook on the charge of using the taxpayer-funded copier, but at the…..


I understand laws may have been broken, but jeez–this just sounds to me like the equivalent of a high school football team stealing the opponent’s playbook. Juvenile, lame, and ultimately meaningless, because who cares if the other team knows your plays? Execute well and it’s a moot point.

If next i hear a story about how the Dems or Repubs stole the other team’s mascot, i’m gonna punch someone in the throat.


“If next i hear a story about how the Dems or Repubs stole the other team’s mascot, i’m gonna punch someone in the throat. ”

The link above is the closest I could come to a story about the Repubs stealing the other team’s mascot. The mascot in this case would be using “South Park” as promotional material by claiming the show is Right-Wing.

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