Alberta Darling Tries to Distract from Own Ethical Lapses by Launching Negative Smear Campaign

Oct 30, 2008

Multiple Darling Staff Members Caught Up In Illegal Campaign Activity Scandals

MADISON – In an attempt to distract voters from her own history of being caught up in illegal campaign activity on the state’s dime, state Senator Alberta Darling has launched another series of negative campaign ads attacking her opponent, State Rep. Sheldon Wasserman.

“It’s pretty bold of Senator Darling to make up ridiculous accusations about Sheldon Wasserman when she herself had to reimburse taxpayers for illegal, unethical campaign phone calls that her staff made on the state dime,” said Joe Wineke, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair. (Source: Darling to pay state for phone bill: Former aide called man who worked on campaigns, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, September 21, 2005)

“Senator Darling may have asked the staffer involved to resign, but then she turned around and hired a political operative at the center of yet another scandal involving campaign-related phone calls on state time. The taxpayers were never reimbursed for those calls,” said Wineke.

Phone records show that between October 2003 and April 2004, Senator Darling’s Menomonee Falls office made 226 calls to the campaign staff of two Falls trustee candidates supported by Chris Slinker, the Darling aide who ran her Menomonee Falls office. The state paid for the calls, but after an investigation revealed the illegal activity, Senator Darling was forced to reimburse taxpayers for the cost.

Despite being ethically bruised by the episode, Senator Darling didn’t learn her lesson. Darling’s current campaign consultant, Mary Stitt, was questioned for receiving campaign-related phone calls from a government office in 2002 while she was working on campaigns for Scott McCallum, J.B. Van Hollen and Michael Gableman.

The statute of limitations ran out before a formal investigation or charges could be brought. Instead of ending her association with Ms. Stitt, Darling rewarded her with a $10,000 bonus in August. (Source: Whose terrain? Justice-elect’s calls escape investigation, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 4, 2008)