WI State Senator Investigated For Illegal Politicking
February 8, 2015

Wisconsin State Senator Tom Tiffany is in hot water regarding a couple of mailers involving four races for Oneida County Supervisor. One of the mailers, which was identical in the four different races - except for the candidate's name - falsely accused the targeted incumbents of plotting to arbitrarily removing dams in the county.

According to the report by Bill Lueders of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Tiffany was the mastermind behind the shenanigans:

What makes this backwoods issue of larger import is that the controversial fliers are the handiwork of Wisconsin state Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, a rising star within his party and chamber. He admits helping craft the wording of this and another flier, accusing the county board of being eager to sell a county building at a loss.

Tiffany was also involved in sending the fliers out. He says he acted not as a state senator but as a resident of Oneida County: “I care about my county. It’s important to be engaged.”

Tiffany defends the mailing. He says that besides Martini’s “instrumental” role on past DNR dam removal projects, he serves on the board of the River Alliance of Wisconsin, which is “associated with” the national group American Rivers, which has “a bias toward removing dams.” River Alliance officials say the two groups have no formal ties.

And Tiffany says Martini, during discussions on a county land-use plan, offered “some wording that was favorable to dam removal when possible.” Candidate Ken Dirks, who lost to VanRaalte, admits he doesn’t know the basis for the flier’s claim about Martini; he says Tiffany came to him with the fliers, and he approved their use.

According to Jensen, a draft land-use plan favored by Martini included language that was removed when some towns objected: “Support dam/drainage way repair and removal where appropriate.” This language, which Martini says he did not craft, is the basis for the flier’s feverish claim of a plan to eliminate dams.

In October, a citizens group formed in response to these mailings filed a complaint with the Oneida County district attorney, who forwarded it to the state Justice Department, which says it is under review. The complaint alleges possible violations of election law involving the fliers’ content, origin and funding.

All of this again raises the question: If the Republicans are such champions of the people and have such wonderful ideas that are working so well, why do they have to keep resorting to cheating to get elected?

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