Mary Burke fails to practice what she preaches in governor’s race

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON, Wis. — Mary Burke’s campaign hypocrisy seems to be flowing at biblical proportions.

You know, the “why beholdest thou mote that is in thy brother’s eye but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye” kind.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s anointed candidate for governor on Thursday pledged she would ban campaign donations from out-of-state givers, should she win in November.

That bold — and constitutionally improbable — political pronouncement comes from a candidate who has taken in, by her own admission, 30 percent of her contributions, nearly $1.1 million, from outside the Badger State.

MONEY TALKS: Democrat Mary Burke says she would work to ban out-of-state contributions should she be elected governor. Having raised about 30 percent of her $3.6 million in the first six months of this year outside of the Badger State, Wisconsin’s GOP is calling, Hypocrite.

Her opponents were more than happy to point out the disconnect Thursday.

“In an unbelievable show of hypocrisy, Madison Millionaire Mary Burke said today that she would ‘outlaw’ all campaign donations from outside Wisconsin,” the Republican Party of Wisconsin said in a statement. “Ironically, Burke is a walking special interest who has received heavy sums of money from outside Wisconsin, and she liberally donates to candidates across the country.”

RPW Executive Director Joe Fadness called on Burke to “practice what she preaches and immediately return the donations she has received from outside Wisconsin.”

Doing so would quickly deplete Burke’s campaign coffers. The candidate is being outraised by Republican Gov. Scott Walker by a 2-to-1 margin.

Earlier this week, Walker announced that he had raised $8.3 million during the first half of the year, although his self-report ahead of the July filing deadline later this month did not note the number of out-of-state contributors.

Burke, the millionaire Madison Metropolitan School Board member and commerce secretary under former Democrat Gov. Jim Doyle, said she took in about $3.6 million during the first six months of the year, bragging that about 70 percent of those contributions came from within Wisconsin’s borders.

Democrats have long blasted Walker for generating a hefty portion of his campaign cash from outside Wisconsin, and traveling far and wide to fund-raise.

A quick-hit GOP video Thursday drives home the point of the Burke double-standard, however, opening with the Dem declaring, “As governor, I’m going to make sure, I want to work hard to actually outlaw donations from outside the state.”

The video cuts to a clip of Burke answering questions at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“It makes me sick to think that people from outside of the state are going to influence and possibly buy our governorship,” she said.

The next scene is the Journal Sentinel’s Dan Bice, head in hand, asking Burke, “You just had a fundraiser outside the state, though, in New York, did you not?”

And then an edited, rapid, shot of Burke looking quizzical. “Uhh!” she says, as if she’s burping a thought.

Burke’s words play over again as white letters on a dark screen show the candidate’s multiple out-of-state fundraisers since she jumped into the governor’s race. The GOP also noted the stops in a news release:

  • Nov. 13, 2013: Washington, D.C., fundraiser hosted by lobbyist Bill Broydrick.
  • March 13: High-end fundraiser on Park Avenue in New York City at residence of a top executive with a private equity firm.
  • May 30: EMILY’s List fundraiser where Mary Burke courted big out-of-state donors.
  • July 15: At the home of Keven Wilder in Chicago, the Burke campaign will hold an event co-hosted by EMILY’s List

Burke spokesman Joe Zepecki cheekily pointed out that the candidate is simply expressing the sentiments of voters.

“In news sure to shake the governor’s race to the core today, Mary Burke revealed that she shares a feeling held by roughly 100 percent of people with a pulse … there’s too much money in politics,” Zepecki said in a statement, as reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “As governor, she is committed to exploring ways to lessen the influence of big-money special interests and people from out outside the state trying to buy our elections.”

As long as they’re not Big Labor, environmental extremists, abortion advocates and the left’s special interests in general, Republicans just might shoot back.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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