Ron Johnson Ends Campaign on Negative, Misleading and Divisive Note

Oct 28, 2010

Johnson Takes Government Assistance for Himself, But Now Makes False Attack, Calls Bonds Wasteful

MADISON — Three media organizations have now called out Ron Johnson for his false mailer that attacks as wasteful the same revenue bonds he used in the 1980’s to build his own business.

 Johnson’s mailer says that the Recovery Act wasted tax dollars on projects such as $25 million for a ski resort in Vermont. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported this week however, that the money was never spent. 

“And, as it happens, an official for the Mount Snow Ski Resort in West Dover, Vt., the intended recipient of the bonds, confirmed Thursday that the ski lodge passed on the opportunity. No money was spent and no bonds were issued.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10.28.10]

And as WKOW reported, Johnson is now attacking the same kind of government aid that he used in the 1980s to build his own business, when Johnson took at least $4 million worth of revenue bonds to build his business.

 “Indeed, the bonds work nearly identically to the industrial development revenue bonds Johnson took advantage of to help build his Oshkosh plastics factory in the 1970s and 1980s.” [WKOW, 10.27.10]

 Johnson defended his own use of Revenue Bonds earlier this year, claiming it was no big deal that he took government aid, even though he opposes government aid to businesses now:

 “Thousands of companies utilize industrial revenue bonds for- for initial financing. It’s just what city government’s do to attract business into their, into their particular location.” (WisconsinEye Interview 8/30/10)

The Wisconsin State Journal reported this morning that Johnson’s attack was nothing more than “a snow job.”

“That’s so bogus it’s not even funny,” said Kelly Pawlak, the general manager of Mount Snow. [Wisconsin State Journal, 10.29.10]

Johnson Starts Race Baiting, Makes False Attacks on Feingold

The Johnson campaignis also standing with a divisive, race baiting group called “NumbersUSA” in a mail campaign attack on Russ Feingold.  

The Southern Poverty Law Center reported last year that the organization is “part of a network of restrictionist organizations conceived and created by John Tanton, the “puppeteer” of the nativist movement and a man with deep racist roots.”

Ron Johnson has falsely accused Feingold of supporting Social Security benefits  in debates, in television and radio ads, and now in a mail campaign.

 Johnson’s false claim is a Republican talking point from 2006 that has been thoroughly debunked.

Factcheck, October 10, 2006

Factcheck, March 1, 2009

PolitiFact, July 14th, 2009

Johnson is paying Darrin Schmitz to run his mail campaign. As The Capital Times reported in May:

“The first hire by Johnson was the veteran GOP operative who put together the campaign of Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, the most disreputable figure ever to sit on the state’s high court. Gableman’s 2008 campaign shocked the state and nation, and even now it continues to be the subject of Supreme Court deliberations on how to sanction Gableman for his own misdeeds and that of his reckless campaign.

The crude campaign of distortion was arranged on Gableman’s behalf by Darrin Schmitz, who now works for Ron Johnson. The campaign was so misleading that it was examined by the New York Times in a front-page article and drew expressions of concern from the likes of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.”

The independent Wisconsin Judicial Campaign Integrity Committee said the key television spot aired in the campaign was “in the offensive, race-baiting style reminiscent of the Willie Horton ad from the 1988 presidential race.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel described the campaign that Schmitz put together for Gableman as a “purposeful distortion” and said it was “unworthy of any campaign.”

The Racine Journal Times dismissed the Gableman attack ad as “a lie.””