Saturday, July 22, 2006

Doyle's donor's 'pet cause' -- curing disease

The Republican Party, in its ongoing and increasingly ludicrous efforts to dirty up every single contribution to Jim Doyle's campaign, stepped way over the line on this one, in a press release:
A Hollywood producer gave Doyle $10,000 just weeks after Doyle issued a $250,000 grant in that producer's name for a pet cause. (MJS 2/13/02)
The producer is Wisconsin's Jerry Zucker , (pictured) of "Airplane" and "Naked Gun" fame, among others.

Zucker's "pet cause" is finding a cure for juvenile diabetes. And, to that end, he is a big supporter of stem cell research.

Zucker and his wife, Janet, were key players in a California referendum campaign, a bond issue voters approved that will make $300 million a year available for scientists in California to pursue stem cell research over the next decade. It is known as the Stem Cell Research and Cures Act.

The Zuckers have a personal interest -- a teenage daughter who was diagnosed at age 11 with juvenile diabetes.

This San Diego Union-Tribune article tells the Zuckers' story.

Given all that, and his Wisconsin ties, it is pretty easy to understand why Zucker would be a supporter of Jim Doyle and would donate to his campaign.

Thousands of Wisconsin children suffer from juvenile diabetes and could potentially benefit from embryonic stem cell research.

The Republican Party dismisses the issue as someone's "pet project."

In light of George Bush's veto of expanding stem cell research -- and Mark Green's consistent votes against embryonic stem cell research -- perhaps that cynical dismissal of Zucker's cause reflects the official GOP attitude toward juvenile diabetes. The Republicans certainly act like it.

UPDATE: Speaking of the GOP losing credibility with charges about every dime to Doyle, this AP story suggests reporters think it's wearing a bit thin, too:
By SCOTT BAUER, Associated Press Writer

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - These days, even a $250 donation can attract political mudslinging.

The state Republican Party on Friday accused Gov. Jim Doyle of being arrogant for accepting $250 from an employee of a company involved in a contract scandal.

A Doyle spokesman responded by calling the attack pathetic and accusing the Republicans of reaching a new low.

All this with the election still more than three months away.

At issue is whether Doyle should keep donations he's received from employees of the company, Adelman Travel Group.

The company won a $750,000 travel contract in 2005, but last month a state worker was convicted of felony charges after being found guilty of steering the contract toward Adelman. Doyle has canceled the contract but refused to return $20,000 he received from Adelman executives in the months before and after the contract was awarded.

The $250 donation, which equates to 0.015 percent of the nearly $1.62 million Doyle collected in the first six months of this year, came June 28 from Tony Heller, according to the campaign finance report the governor filed with the state this week.

Heller is described in the filing as a national account manager with Adelman.

Doyle's campaign spokesman, Anson Kaye, described him as an average guy who happens to work for Adelman.

"This is a pathetic attack by the Republican Party on an average Wisconsinite,'' Kaye said.

State Republican Party Executive Director Rick Wiley said Doyle's refusal to return any of the money shows he is "completely politically tone deaf.''

Heller did not immediately return a message left at his office Friday.

His donation was the only one in this reporting cycle from anyone who listed their employer as Adelman, and it came just 16 days after state procurement worker Georgia Thompson was convicted of illegally steering business to the company.
UPDATE: Neglected to mention that Charlie Sykes, marching in lockstep, posted the same garbage.


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