Contact: Toby Miceli-Gwiazdowski, 414-581-5511
KENOSHA -- Jonathan Steitz complained about mudslinging throughout a candidate forum in Kenosha last night, but when he has had the chance to speak out against vitriolic language used by some key donors and supporters, he was absolutely silent. Whether it is attending a rally with Tea Party leaders who made violent, hate-filled comments at other stops in Wisconsin or accepting donations from a former criminal and purported skinhead and other extreme donors, Steitz seems to have a double standard when it comes to the company he keeps.
This past weekend, Steitz attended a Tea Party Express rally in Kenosha where he schmoozed with Judson Phillips, leader of the Tea Party Nation, and other out-of-state Tea Party agitators. Steitz appearance at the rally came after Phillips compared volunteers for Democratic candidates to Nazi storm troopers. Later on Saturday, at a rally in Thiensville, Phillips continued his inflammatory language by saying working families opposing Republican recall candidates were endorsers of ideology that "killed a billion people." Steitz has yet to denounce Phillips' comments.
Steitz has also taken donations from donors with criminal records and a history of ties to extreme, right-wing groups. One of Steitz's donors, Jerry Bloom, spent over a year in jail for shooting out a window of an African-American church in Kenosha. During the trial, prosecutors claimed Bloom was a skinhead and argued the shooting was racially-motivated. Bloom is not the only donor with a questionable history of racial prejudice. Gary Babington, who donated to Steitz's campaign, wrote in a blog post praising slavery for "giving those people a second chance for life."
"In addition to illegally sheltering dangerous sex offenders in our community, Jonathan Steitz has yet to account for support from the most extreme elements of the right wing -- including violent racists and alleged skinheads," said We Are Wisconsin spokesperson Kelly Steele. "By accepting their money and support, Jonathan Steitz has given his tacit support to the hate-filled, extreme ideas and actions spouted by his allies -- and has rendered himself unfit to represent the community he's parachuted into in pursuit of an ego-stroking political run."