Sunday, January 29, 2006

Scandal: Doyle takes campaign cash from grateful property tax payer

By Patrick Marley and Steve Walters
(The first of an endless series)

Things went from bad to worse for Gov. Doyle today, when it was revealed that his campaign received a contribution from a homeowner whose property taxes were reduced thanks to provisions in Doyle's budget.

According to campaign finance records, Charlie Pirlot of Beloit donated $500 to Doyle's campaign on December 15, 2005. The donation came just days after Pirlot receieved his property tax bill, showing his taxes were going down by $71.

"This is the kind of 'pay for play' activity that is turning Wisconsin into a cesspool of corruption," bloviated Jay Heck of Common Cause. "Jim Doyle blatantly cut property taxes, and got a generous campaign contribution in return. The influence-peddler who wrote the check even included a note telling Doyle to 'keep up the great work!' It doesn't get much worse than that."

Doyle opponents were quick to pounce on the latest revelations. "The James E. Doyle administration is as foul as a bottle of milk left outside for two days in a July heatwave," thundered Rick Graber of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. "Not even Chuck Chvala would be so bold as to take campaign cash in exchange for cutting someone's property taxes. If James E. Doyle has an ounce of decency, he will return this dirty money, along with every other contribution he received from individuals who saw reductions in their property taxes."

Doyle campaign manager Rich Judge dismissed the allegations. "For chrissakes, we cut the guy's taxes, he was grateful, he sent in a check. Are we supposed to return all the money from families whose kids benefited from the SAGE program too?"

Judge took a long swig of Diet Pepsi before concluding, "Heck and Graber should shut their yaps and get a life."