March 20, 2009

Rep. Pridemore:

DPW will File GAB Complaint Today

MADISON – Republican Rep. Don Pridemore (R-Hartford) yesterday illegally used his state office to launch a blatant political attack on DPI candidate Tony Evers.

Rep. Pridemore’s excuse? ‘Don’t blame me, my staff did it.’

WisPolitics.com reported yesterday:

“Pridemore said the release was sent by a member of his staff on a personal computer who was inadvertently logged into a state e-mail account.”

But a simple look at the release shows that Rep. Pridemore’s excuse doesn’t hold up:

·         The release was on Rep. Pridemore’s official state office letterhead.

·         The contact listed on the release was the toll free number for Rep. Pridemore’s office.

·         The address on the release was Rep. Pridemore’s Office in the State Capitol.

·         Rep. Pridemore’s release was sent out at 9:31 a.m. yesterday by a state staffer on state time from the state e-mail account of staff member Bill Savage: (Bill.Savage@legis.wisconsin.gov)

·         The e-mail was also cc’d to the state e-mail account of Jim Bowers – also a Pridemore staffer: (Jim.Bowers@legis.wisconsin.gov).

Based on Legislative rules adopted in the aftermath of the Caucus Scandal, Legislative staff must receive prior authorization to take vacation time before engaging in political activity.

“If this was simply a case of a state staffer sending out an email from the wrong account, while that would still be illegal, that doesn’t explain why Rep. Pridemore’s Office used state letterhead and a state toll-free number as the contact,” said Jason Stephany, Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “Furthermore, it is absolutely pathetic that Rep. Pridemore chose to blame his state staff for the campaign hit he ordered on DPI candidate Tony Evers.”

“The only way to clearly establish the full extent of the violation that Rep. Pridemore and his staff clearly committed is to have the Government Accountability Board conduct a thorough investigation,” said Stephany. “The DPW will be filing an official complaint today with the GAB.”