Tag Archives: Michael Grebe

High-profile Wisconsinites drop out of Republican convention

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Michael Grebe, former chairman far-right Bradley Foundation, have been replaced as Wisconsin  delegates to the Republican convention in Cleveland later this month, the state GOP announced Friday.

The controversial Kleefisch and Grebe are being replaced by Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and longtime Republican activist Don Taylor.

They will serve among the 18 at-large delegates who are bound to vote for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the first round of balloting because

18 at-large delegates who are bound to vote for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the first round of balloting because Cruz won Wiscosin’s primary in April, which was considered then a near-fatal blow to Trump’s campaign.

Of Wisconsin’s 42 delegates, 36 are bound to vote for Cruz at the Republican convention until he releases them or fails to get a third of the vote at the July 18–21 event.

Fitzgerald has been outspoken in urging Republicans to unite behind presumptive nominee Donald Trump.

Kleefisch has said she will support whoever is the nominee. She withdrew as a delegate about a month ago due to scheduling conflicts, said her campaign manager Charles Nichols. Kleefisch will still attend the first three days of the convention, where she will participate in events as chair of the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association, Nichols said. After that she will return to Wisconsin late on July 20 for official state business, he said.

Grebe did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment. Wisconsin Republican Party spokesman Pat Garrett said he did not know why Grebe withdrew.

For the past 14 years, he’s served as chairman of the powerful and influential Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation based in Milwaukee. The $850 million conservative foundation has financially backed public policy experiments in Wisconsin like welfare reform, public vouchers for private schools and curbs on collective bargaining and unions.

Grebe is also a close confidante of Gov. Scott Walker, having previously served as his campaign chairman. Walker is going to the Republican convention as an at-large delegate, but he’s wavered in his support of Trump in recent weeks.

Four alternate delegates were also replaced. Those removed were Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, former Gov. Scott McCallum, former U.S. Rep. Mark Green and David Karst.

Steineke has been one of the most outspoken critics of Trump in Wisconsin. He had announced earlier this spring that he would not attend the convention given that Trump was the presumptive nominee.

They are being replaced by Trump supporter Van Mobley, Sue Lynch, David Anderson and Jennie Frederick.

Responding to Wall Street backlash, Scott Walker’s sons try making him appear less extreme on same-sex marriage

Gov. Scott Walker’s sons Alex Walker and Matt Walker will appear on CNN’s State of the Union tomorrow, likely to discuss their support for same-sex marriage. Even since the governor suffered a backlash after condemning the Supreme Court’s ruling granting marriage rights to same-sex couples, his sons have been contacting the media to emphasize their support for equality.

The younger Walkers’ campaign began after billionaire hedge-fund manager Dan Loeb declined to donate to the governor due to his extreme opposition to marriage equality, according to Business Insider. Wall Street has become increasingly disenchanted with the Republican Party’s emphasis on social issues, which financial leaders believe has cost the GOP at the polls. And most Wall Street political donors support the right of gays and lesbians to marry.

Thus, Walker’s hardline stance on the issue poses an unforeseen stumbling block to his fundraising efforts.

The sons appear to be sincere: Alex Walker served as best man at the wedding of his mother’s lesbian cousin to another woman.

But despite his sons’ attempts to humanize their father on the issue, Walker is still calling for a constitutional amendment that would overturn the Supreme Court ruling.

Walker has flip-flopped on many other issues since he decided to seek the presidency. For instance, he was strongly opposed to the federal government’s ethanol mandates until he began campaigning in Iowa, whose economy relies heavily on ethanol sales. Then he shifted his stance in favor of government regulations that require fuel refiners to blend a certain volume of ethanol into traditional gasoline.

But Iowa voters are also the reason that Walker will not be able to backpedal on his pledge to fight back against the legalization of same-sex marriage. Walker must win the Iowa caucuses to stay in the race, and adherents to fundamentalist Christian dogma dominate the state’s Republican caucus-goers.

The surrogate campaign by Walker’s sons might, however, help him appear less radical to voters in a general election — if he were to succeed in obtaining his party’s nomination.

In other Walker news, the governor has announced that he’ll sign the controversial state budget passed this week by Republican legislators tomorrow — one day before he formally announces his presidential candidacy.

Signing the $73 billion, two-year spending plan at a business in Waukesha late Sunday afternoon ensures that media coverage will be minimal for the controversial bill.

Also, the soon-to-be candidate announced last week that he’d tapped Mike Grebe, president of the conservative Bradley Foundation to lead his presidential campaign. The foundation has been a strong backer of Walker’s political career.

Grebe told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that Walker asked him to serve as his campaign chairman about 10 days ago.  Grebe has served as chairman of Walker’s gubernatorial political committee since 2010.

The Bradley Foundation has backed a number of right-wing public policy experiments, including welfare reform and voucher schools. Grebe became the foundation’s president and chief executive officer in 2002.

In late May, Walker appointed Grebe to University of Wisconsin board of regents.

Journal Sentinel story attacking Burke used GOP source who called Obama an anti-gay slur and said Michelle Obama is a man

UPDATED STORY: A source who was quoted this morning in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel cover story claiming that Democrat Mary Burke was fired from Trek Bicycle has posted bizarre and offensive rants on his Facebook page, including accusations that Barack Obama is a “homo” and First Lady Michelle Obama is a man.

MJS, which has endorsed Gov. Scott Walker in the past, ran the story in which former Trek employees blasted Burke’s alleged incompetence under the headline “Conservative ex-execs say Burke forced out at Trek.” The story appeared in a prominent position under the masthead and above the newspaper fold.

The three accusers are not only die-hard Republicans but also former Trek employees. The article did not state whether they were disgruntled with Trek, but one of them apparently was fired by Trek and another, Tom Albers, now works for a major Trek competitor and has donated to Republican campaigns.

Joe Fadness, the third Burke accuser, is also a Wisconsin GOP operative.

Gary Elllerman, who posted the Facebook rants, is a known Republican dirty trickster who compared Obama’s 2008 “hope and change” slogan to a swastika. The chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party, Ellerman ran as a fake Democrat in the 2012 recall elections.

“It’s disgusting that the state’s largest newspaper would run a sleazy tabloid hit piece based on blatant lies, but it’s even more reprehensible that their ‘source,’ a Republican Party insider who was fired from Trek for poor performance, is publicly espousing his racist, homophobic beliefs,” said a Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokewoman. “Unless they agree with him, Scott Walker and his Republican Party should immediately denounce Gary Ellerman and call for him to resign his Party leadership post.”

Journal Sentinel blogger Daniel Bice was one of three bylined writers of the story. He posted a blog this afternoon claiming that the writers tried without success to reach Ellerman before publishing the story, which was based on an article that previously appeared in the right-wing publication Wisconsin Reporter. According to Bice, that newspaper is funded by the conservative Bradley Foundation, which is headed by Walker campaign chairman Michael Grebe.

In his blog post, Brice did not defend the decision to present the incendiary story based on personal accusations made by partisan opponents so close to the election. In fact, he presented the extent of bias among his sources under the headline “Democrats pounce on Burke critic’s extreme Facebook posts.”

John Burke, Mary Burke’s brother and current Trek CEO, denied the charges made against his sister by the company’s former employees. He said Mary Burke left her job as head of overseas operations as part of a corporate restructuring.

Burke flatly denied the accusations as “complete lies.”

“Scott Walker is not going to stop at anything,” she said during a Port Washington campaign stop today. “He is a career politician who will do anything to win an election, including lies and smears, dragging a great Wisconsin company through the mud. … This type of lies and allegations frankly shouldn’t be part of politics.”

In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s recent coverage of Mary Burke, the paper continued to accuse her of leaving Trek to go snow boarding for two years, even though she’s denied it and the paper has no proof that’s all she did during the time in question. Her supporters have expressed everything from outrage to disbelief over the newspaper’s coverage of someting so trivial in its political coverage, as though snow boarding was a derelict activity.

Although Scott Walker dropped out of Milwaukee’s Marquette University before finishing and after being disciplined for unethical campaigning for student body president, the Journal Sentinel only occasionally mentions it when covering the campaign. Burke supporters say that’s a more relevant story for voters than a candidate taking a snow-boarding vacation.

Burke holds an MBA from Harvard University School of Business.

UPDATED story includes Democratic Party of Wisconsin response and snowboarding references.

Journal Sentinel story attacking Burke used source who called Obama an anti-gay slur

A source who was quoted this morning in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel cover story claiming that Democrat Mary Burke was fired from Trek Bicycle has posted bizarre and offensive rants on his Facebook page, including accusations that Barack Obama is a “homo” and First Lady Michelle Obama is a man.

MJS, which has endorsed Gov. Scott Walker in the past, ran the story in which former Trek employees blasted Burke’s alleged incompetence under the headline “Conservative ex-execs say Burke forced out at Trek.” The story appeared in a prominent position under the masthead and above the newspaper fold.

The three accusers are not only die-hard Republicans but also former Trek employees. The article did not state whether they were disgruntled with Trek, but one of them apparently was fired by Trek and another, Tom Albers, now works for a major Trek competitor and has donated to Republican campaigns.

Joe Fadness, the third Burke accuser, is also a Wisconsin GOP operative.

Gary Elllerman, who posted the Facebook rants, is a known Republican dirty trickster who compared Obama’s 2008 “hope and change” slogan to a swastika. The chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party, Ellerman ran as a fake Democrat in the 2012 recall elections.

“It’s disgusting that the state’s largest newspaper would run a sleazy tabloid hit piece based on blatant lies, but it’s even more reprehensible that their ‘source,’ a Republican Party insider who was fired from Trek for poor performance, is publicly espousing his racist, homophobic beliefs,” said a Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokewoman. “Unless they agree with him, Scott Walker and his Republican Party should immediately denounce Gary Ellerman and call for him to resign his Party leadership post.”

Journal Sentinel blogger Daniel Bice was one of three bylined writers of the story. He posted a blog this afternoon claiming that the writers tried without success to reach Ellerman before publishing the story, which was based on an article that previously appeared in the right-wing publication Wisconsin Reporter. According to Bice, that newspaper is funded by the conservative Bradley Foundation, which is headed by Walker campaign chairman Michael Grebe.

In his blog post, Brice did not defend the decision to present the incendiary story based on personal accusations made by partisan opponents so close to the election. In fact, he presented the extent of bias among his sources under the headline “Democrats pounce on Burke critic’s extreme Facebook posts.”

John Burke, Mary Burke’s brother and current Trek CEO, denied the charges made against his sister by the company’s former employees. He said Mary Burke left her job as head of overseas operations as part of a corporate restructuring.

Burke flatly denied the accusations as “complete lies.”

“Scott Walker is not going to stop at anything,” she said during a Port Washington campaign stop today. “He is a career politician who will do anything to win an election, including lies and smears, dragging a great Wisconsin company through the mud. … This type of lies and allegations frankly shouldn’t be part of politics.”