Green gets a mild spanking
I wondered whether he could get away with a TV spot in which the narrator actually claims the Journal Sentinel said something it didn't say, like: "The Journal Sentinel reports Doyle secretly rigged the State Elections Board vote to try to steal the election."
The newspaper responds with a mild rebuke, flogging Green with a wet noodle:
Editorial: Green ad steps over the lineBoy, that smarts.
A recent television ad for Rep. Mark Green includes the caution, "Don't be fooled."
We agree. The ad says the Journal Sentinel reports that Gov. Jim Doyle "secretly rigged a state Elections Board vote to try and steal the election."
Don't be fooled. The newspaper didn't write that. News stories reported on calls from a Doyle campaign attorney to Democratic members of the Elections Board before a key vote that was to determine if Green should return nearly $468,000 that went from his congressional campaign fund to his governor campaign. Another news report cited a call from the state Republican Party head to a board member on the same matter.
A Sept. 22 editorial mostly bemoaned the blatant partisanship of the Elections Board in that vote and urged reform that would remove partisanship from such decisions. Specifically, it urged passage of legislation that would have removed the partisanship.
But the editorial also agreed with board counsel that there was likely nothing illegal about those calls, though it welcomed an investigation into whether open meeting laws were broken. So, "rigged?" "Steal?"
There is something rigged here, but that would be the system itself. In campaign finance generally and on the Elections Board, partisanship trumps the public good. Board members are chosen in a system that ensures partisanship.
Yes, some of Doyle's campaign finance actions do raise smoke. As does the timing of an endorsement of Green by Realtors and home-builders, more than $100,000 from these interests and a proposal he issued on housing regulations.
Ethics is a worthy issue in this campaign. But misrepresenting what's reported won't help the cause.