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Total Recall: One flyer, many tentacles

At least one Texan may care quite a bit about helping Wisconsin State Senator Randy Hopper keep his seat. Flyers recently surfaced in District 18 encouraging voters to cast votes for Zombie candidate and anti-Wisconsin businessman John Buckstaff in the Democratic primary against Jessica King on July 12. Buckstaff is running at the behest of the Wisconsin GOP which has also donated $750 to the fake candidate.

The flyer (see below), posted by Greg Sargent at the Washington Post, says Buckstaff will “roll up his sleeves and work with Governor Walker to eliminate special privileges for government unions.”

Obviously, this flyer must have been created by a deeply concerned Wisconsin taxpayer, right? It certainly looks like it was put together using Microsoft Paint. Likely not.

According to the disclosure on the bottom, it was paid for by a group called Patriot Advisors which is registered out of a PO Box in Cobb, Wis. However, they do their banking at Bank of America in Austin, Texas. According to the Shepard Express, not much information is available regarding Cobb’s Patriot Advisors.

Something we do know about, thanks to Karoli at Crooks and Liars, is a conservative Texas group that shares the very same name and also banks in Austin. Coincidence, perhaps, but let’s take a look at that organization anyway as it has many Texan tentacles (and Chicago and DC) that are all over Wisconsin. The Texas-based Patriot Advisors is run by Denis Calabrese and Tim Dunn. Below is how this flyer goes full circle.

1. Calabrese is also a former board member of the Sam Adams Alliance

2. The Sam Adams Alliance is a major funder of the Tea Party via its training arm, American Majority. American Majority’s Drew Ryan once estimated that 75 percent of American Majority’s funding came from the Alliance

3. The Sam Adams Alliance and American Majority were the primary backers of the pro-Scott Walker rally in Madison on February 19.

4. Sam Adams Alliance founder and CEO Eric O’Keefe lives in Spring Green, Wis. (thanks to Abe Sauer of The Awl for this additional information – updated 2:30 p.m. 7/8/11). O’Keefe’s home is a 30-minute drive to Cobb, Wis.

4. The Sam Adams Alliance provided a significant investment of funds to help start the Franklin Center for Government and Policy Integrity.

6. The Franklin Center is affiliated with the State Policy Network, which touts a long list of conservative think tanks, including Wisconsin’s MacIver Institute, as members.

Why are all of these connections important? Note the quote on the flyer from a publication called the Wisconsin Reporter. That publication was founded by the Franklin Center in January of 2011.

The first individual the Wisconsin Reporter hired to write commentary was Senator Ron Johnson’s former research director, Kevin Binversie. His current colleague is the Freedom Foundation‘s Scott St. Clair who made this cherry quote to the Daily Caller when it looked like JoAnne Kloppenburg had come out on top in the Supreme Court race: “I wouldn’t put it past somebody in Wisconsin to be selectively revealing ballots or conveniently finding ballots because this is the kind of stuff we’ve seen in the past before. I think it’s also important to note that Wisconsin and Illinois are neighbors and how they vote in Chicago doesn’t necessarily stop at the state line.”

The most recent list of “Latest News” headlines at Wisconsin Reporter pretty much speaks for itself.

The above isn’t likely a surprise to anyone. That’s how, sadly, political funding works in the United States. If you think about it our campaigns are a lot like the Internet. Anyone with the right amount of money can hide behind an anonymous PO Box, not owning their words.

This article was posted at dane101.com on July 9, 2011.

John Buckstaff Wisconsin Recall Flyer

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Total Recall: Spoiler candidate John Buckstaff’s anti-Wisconsin campaign

John Buckstaff likes fighting dirty. When he disagrees with a Governor he’ll tell businesses to stay out of the state of Wisconsin. When he loves a Senator that more than 20,000 of his neighbors have said should face a recall he’ll happily misrepresent himself simply to trigger a primary for the opposition party.

Representative Jess King is seeking to face State Senator Randy Hopper in a recall election on August 9. First, she’ll face Buckstaff, who entered the open primary due to the GOP hoping to buy more time for their incumbent to introduce himself to his constituents.

Buckstaff is no stranger to politics. In 1986, shortly after a tax audit regarding items he donated to charity and the DNR dinging him with a lawsuit over emissions (he was acquitted), he started an organization called B.O.W./W.O.W. (Businessmen of Wisconsin/Words of Warning). He used that organization to publish an ad in the Wall Street Journal telling businesses to “Escape from Wisconsin.”

Buckstaff’s organization also targeted taxes in the state of Wisconsin as being too high. However, he also claimed in the very same article that public sector budgets being cut was costing his furniture company business.

Harold Bergan, Governor Anthony Earl’s policy director, said of Buckstaff, “There`s been a rare, bipartisan, public sector-private sector consensus about Mr. Buckstaff. Everybody thinks he`s a jerk.”

Buckstaff also wasn’t making allies in his hometown of Oshkosh. The local Chamber of Commerce was perplexed as to why Buckstaff never contacted them if he was having problems with his business. Tim Casey was Executive Director of the Chamber when the ad ran and he was paraphrased in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as saying, “The negative nature of the ad counteracted a lot of effort that has been made to promote Wisconsin as a good place to do business.”

Local radio station WOSH tried their best to kick Buckstaff out of the state with a one-way ticket to Nome, Alaska. Talk show host J. Alan Schmidt, who called Buckstaff a “sissy,” started a fundraising drive to buy the ticket. Meanwhile, station President Phillip J. Robbins attacked Buckstaff in an editorial saying the businessman was gutless for not attaching his name to the ad.

Buckstaff even raised the ire of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, an organization perpetually critical of Wisconsin’s business climate. While WMC didn’t disagree with the context of the ad it did, in 1986, disagree with his tactics.

Buckstaff has now joined a sextet of zombie candidates to trigger fake Democratic primaries that will cost municipalities in the state of Wisconsin nearly $500,000. Election clerks in Hopper’s district estimate the primary costing taxpayers more than $80,000.

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