Hovde accuses Thompson of breaking campaign finance laws - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Hovde accuses Thompson of breaking campaign finance laws

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Eric Hovde is accusing a campaign executive for former Governor Tommy Thompson of violating campaign finance laws.

In the post-Citizens United world of political advertising, candidates and campaigns cannot coordinate with independent expenditure committees known as super-PACs in any way.

But that's exactly what Eric Hovde is accusing Thompson's campaign of doing, to create an attack ad against him.

As the featured guest on this weekend's edition of Capitol City Sunday, Hovde takes aim at the Thompson campaign over a commercial produced by a super-PAC called Americans for Job Security.

"Well, I can only tell you that Darrin Schmitt, Tommy's campaign manager, lists them as a client," said Hovde, referring to Darrin Schmitz, who also owns a public relations firm called Persuasion Partners.

"Yeah, so he's Tommy's campaign manager, they're a client of his, its this Americans for Job Security," Hovde continued.

Schmitz released a statement in reaction to Hovde's allegations, saying: "Eric Hovde is a desperate candidate willing to say anything to get elected, including lying about the Thompson Campaign. In 2008, my firm produced a few mail brochures for AJS, and I have had no relationship with them for four years."

But Hovde says not only has Schmitz violated campaign finance laws, but also made false allegations against him in the ad.

"What are the claims?  One, I took stimulus money, I never took a dollar of stimulus money," said Hovde.

When challenged about that fact, Hovde responded defiantly.

"Greg (Neumann), your show, your show has said this many times and I love this, which company?" 

Hovde points out that the company referred to, but not named in the ad, ePlus Technologies, Inc., never took a direct stimulus payment.

But federal records show it was awarded contracts, that were paid for with stimulus dollars.

"Tommy Thompson's making this claim, he has ten different banks on this list, Bank of America, Citicorp, big holdings of his, that all took TARP money, so, why isn't the standard applicable," responded Hovde.

Capitol City Sunday airs at 9:00 a.m. on 27 News, right after This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Eric Hovde is accusing a campaign executive for former Governor Tommy Thompson of violating campaign finance laws.

Hovde alleges that Darrin Schmitz, who helps to run Thompson's campaign, colluded with a political action committee (PAC) called Americans for Job Security, to produce an attack ad against him.

The AJS ad criticizes Hovde for taking over $2 million in federal stimulus funds.

In an interview with 27 News on Friday, Hovde says that AJS is a client of Schmitz's public relations firm, Persuasion Partners.

But Schmitz denies the allegation and released the following statement.

"Eric Hovde is a desperate candidate willing to say anything to get elected including lying about the Thompson campaign," Schmitz says. "In 2008 my firm produced a few mail brochures for AJS, and I have had no relationship with them with four years."

Under federal law, no member of a political campaign can coordinate directly with a PAC or Super-PAC group.

Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann spoke with Eric Hovde on Friday, and will have live reports on 27 News at 5 and 6.

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