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Friday, October 20, 2006

In Support of Freedom of Speech

If State Sen. Tom Reynolds and the doufus twins, J.J. Blonien and Bob Dohnal think they can win by intimidation, they really don’t have a clue. Gretchen Schuldt, who is the author of the blog Milwaukee Rising, is being threatened with a lawsuit by the above-named trio. Her crime: Asking legitimate questions regarding Mr. Reynolds spending of campaign funds.

Since Reynolds has already shown that he shrinks from the glare of public scrutiny, threatening to sue a former journalist who knows the rules of slander and libel seems a funny thing to do.

Consequently, like Xoff has already done, lets add to the fun and support Gretchen, who seems unfazed by their Gestapo-like tactics . Below are the postings in question regarding Reynolds. He may have started something he did not intend.

Saturday, September 23, 2006
Questions about Tom Reynolds' utility bills

It's one thing to have your campaign headquarters in your house, as State Sen. Tom Reynolds (R- Loony Land) does.

It's another thing when you charge utility costs for your "campaign headquarters" to your campaign fund, as Tom Reynolds does. Even when there's not an election looming.

Let's go back to February, 2004, when Reynolds was very comfortably in the middle of his first term. Some people recognized him for the half-baked clown he is, but there was certainly no election threat on the immediate horizon. No reason to be burning the midnight light bulbs cooking up campaign strategies.

Yet Reynolds charged $57.79 for "gas and electric" for his "campaign headquarters" (his house) to his campaign fund. Hope none of that went to keep his kiddies warm at night. That would be a lot like converting campaign funds to personal use, which would be a distinct no-no.

State statute makes that clear:

No person, committee or group may make or authorize a disbursement or the incurrence of an obligation from moneys solicited for political purposes for a purpose which is other thanpolitical, except as specifically authorized by law.

Maybe Reynolds was in campaign mode in those election off years. In March, 2004, his campaign picked up two payments -- $58.43 on the 13th and $45.20 on the 29th; in May of that year, it was another two payments -- one for $29.44 and one for $35.81, both paid on May 28.

(In June he spent $197.28 at Half Nuts, which seems so appropriate, if somewhat understated.)

Reynolds, in fact, has been charging utility costs to his campaign fund since before he was elected in 2002. That year, a $40.17 electric bill was picked up by the campaign fund on Sept. 16, a week later, on Sept. 24, another $239.85 electric bill was paid by the same source, according to Reynolds' campaign finance report.

Reynolds' house /campaign headquarters isn't all that big -- 1,408 square feet, according to the West Allis city assessor's office. Utility costs should be relatively modest.

On and on it went, with utility costs sloughed off to the campaing fund more frequently:

November 2002, $140.98
November 2002, $76.18
March 2003, $79.91
Sept. 2003, $68.33
November 2003, $32.94
December 2003, $61.06
February 2004, $57.79
March 2004, $58.43
March , 2004, $45.20
May, 2004, $29.44
May, 2004, $35.81
July 2004, $25.94
July 2004, $23.42
September, 2004 $35.52
September, 2004 $26.32
November, 2004 $32.99
December, 2004 $33.83
December, 2004 $58.12
Feb. 2005, $103.98
March 2005, $64.12
April 2005, $75.63
April 2005, $28.55
June 2005, $29.14
July 2005, $28.59
July 2005, $27.95
September 2005, $30.26
October 2005, $26.42
November 2005, $29.47
December 2005, $28.78
December 2005, $101.26
February 2006, $95.02
March 2006, $85.95
April 2006, $97.30
May 2006, $74.77
June 2006, $50.94
June 2006, $69.84
August 2006, $200.30
August 2006, $113.83

It could very well be that Reynolds is not charging the full cost of his utilities to his campaign, but he needs to explain how he separates his family's utility bills from his campaign headquarters' utility bills. A guy who literally poses for holy pictures can't be keeping his family warm with campaign funds.

Oh, yeah. Not a dime from Reynolds' campaign fund went to JJ Blonien, Reynolds' campaign "consultant" who also is on Reynolds' senate payroll as a staffer. Wonder how they keep those two roles nicely separate.

Sunday, October 15, 2006
Reynolds camp can't get its story straight on utility charges

Tom Reynolds used his campaign funds to pay utility bills for the "campaign headquarters" in his home, according to Reynolds' own campaign finance filings.

Bob Dohnal, Reynolds disciple and publisher of The Conservative Digest, said the bills were for Reynolds' print shop, not for his home, despite what Reynolds said in his campaign filing (and I don't think you are supposed to fib on those).

The State Democratic Campaign Committee sent out letters to Reynolds' supporters telling them of Reynolds' creative use of their money to heat his home. Reynolds then issued a statement suggesting that the utility payments were for his home, but just for the campaign headquarters part of it:

The State Senate Democratic Campaign Committee comprised of: Chairperson, Judy Robson, Treasurer, Mark Miller and Executive Director, Matt Swentkowfske published the attached letter. The letter, with actual knowledge of the falsity of the statement, by the authors accuse me of violating state statute by using campaign funds for paying my private utility bills. The letter acknowledges that the authors know of my use of my residential property for my campaign headquarters. However, the authors go on to say that I pay my home utility bill from my campaign account which is a violation of State law. The letter also informs the Reynolds supporters that I am using the hard earned money of supporters and contributors to my campaign illegally to pad Tom Reynolds own pocket.

Reynolds demanded an immediate retraction and apology. You're going to be waiting a while for that one, Tom.

***

All bloggers should be dismayed and outraged by this attack upon their rights to free speech ... regardless of your side of the political spectrum.

4 Swings of the bat:

Dad29 said...

Schuldt is a moonbat. She's quoted as saying that the Medical Complex (including Froedtert and Childrens' Hospitals) should bear the cost of engineering for the 894/45/94 upgrades.

THERE'S a health-care-cost compassionate liberal, eh?

Sullivan ALSO uses campaign funds to pay proportionate office-energy bills. It's a required accounting procedure for running a campaign.

Other Side said...

The entire cost of engineering, or their fair share?

I'll bet Sullivan has those expenses properly documented, not buried underneath half-truths and lies.

Dad, I can't believe you would even consider voting for Reynolds. He makes you look like an earthling.

Clint said...

So it is okay for the liberal to pay himself from his campaign coffers, but wrong for the conservative???

No double standards here are there????

Other Side said...

Clint, you are looking at this far tto simplistically.

Election code does allow use of campaign monies for certain personal expenses as long as the payments are documented. If you are referring to Bryan Kennedy ... everyone is aware of what he has used campaign monies for and, if you will notice, there is no one saying the use is illegal ... there have been questions and he has answered them all.

No one is also saying that what Tom Reynolds has done is illegal. However, there have been legitimate questions raised about payments he has made. His documentation and his comments do not seem to match. It seems like he is trying to hide something ... and his attempt to squelch debate with this bogus threat of a lawsuit is appalling.

Even you must see the difference.