The state Government Accountability Board issued a statement yesterday voicing concerns about a mailing sent by an outfit calling itself RGA Wisconsin 2010 PAC. The mailing is part attack ad targeting Democratic governor candidate Tom Barrett and part absentee ballot application, already filled out for the voter and pre-addressed to the voter's local election clerk. Included are voter birthdates and telephone numbers. Some receiving the mailings are unsettled by the breach of privacy, others are downright freaked out.
GAB director Kevin Kennedy said in the statement that the mailings are technically legal, but "often provide no end of consternation to voters and election officials."
That's putting it mildly. For more than a week now, the Democracy Campaign has been getting daily doses of this consternation in the form of hate mail and nasty phone calls. See, RGA Wisconsin 2010 PAC does not have a website, which is by design as these kinds of smear groups don't want people to be able to easily figure out who they are. Voters get the garbage they send out in the mail, promptly go online to Google or some other search engine and type in RGA Wisconsin 2010 PAC and are directed here, our write-up about this outfit.
Despite the fact our description is under the heading "Hijacking Campaign 2010," quite a few consternated individuals have nevertheless jumped to the conclusion that the Democracy Campaign and RGA Wisconsin are all part of one big happy family. And they fire off an e-mail or ring us up on the phone to share some choice words.
One said she received the "most disgusting piece of electioneering" from us that "defamed (Barrett) with your distortions and republican lies." Another called us "elitist Smucks." Followed by yet another saying "You can take your lies on your Milwaukee's Worst mailer and shove them up your ass."
We've tried explaining that we didn't mail them anything, but rather are only monitoring the activity of these types of groups. More often than not our explanations have fallen on deaf ears.
The other night I got a call at home from a voter in Trempealeau County who was outraged by a mailing from another group that has been making its maiden electioneering voyage in Wisconsin in 2010. The shadowy sponsor of this charming ad, RSLC Inc., claims it will spend $1 million this fall to influence the outcome of state legislative elections in Wisconsin.
The only good thing that can be said about all this is there's only 19 more days to go 'til it's over.