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Monday, July 18, 2011

 11:37 PM 

VanderLeest promises suit; DOJ says claims of investigation 'premature'

GOP Senate candidate David VanderLeest announced plans Monday to sue Sen. Dave Hansen and various Dem groups for slander, while charging many of the same organizations are now the subject of an investigation for illegally coordinating campaign activity.

A state Department of Justice spokesman said the agency received a two-page complaint Monday morning raising the allegations. But he said it was “premature” to suggest there was an investigation.

Opponents have highlighted VanderLeest’s police record, which includes allegations of domestic violence. The Republican said in a statement Monday he has never been found guilty of abusing anybody or domestic violence in the state of Wisconsin.

He also said he planned to sue Hansen’s campaign, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund, We are Wisconsin, PolitiScoop, The Green Bay Progressive and One Wisconsin Now for making false accusations against him.

He also claimed Hansen’s campaign, the DLCC, the GWPF, We Are Wisconsin, the state Dem Party, the Brown County Democratic Party and One Wisconsin Now are being investigated by the Government Accountability Board and the Wisconsin DOJ for civil and criminal racketeering violations stemming from coordinating political activity.

“For anyone to say all these slanderous mailings along with the various slanderous TV commercials ran against me were not coordinated would be a complete denial of the obvious,” VanderLeest said.

State Dem Chair Mike Tate called the accusations “totally baseless legal threats that do more damage to the English language than to any of the actors whom he has threatened.”

DOJ’s Steve Means said the agency will review the complaint, as it does with any correspondence it receives. Still, the agency does not normally investigate allegations under the federal racketeering statute, which VanderLeest alleged, though Wisconsin has a similar state law. He also said he was unsure if allegations of coordinated political activity would constitute a violation of federal racketeering laws.

The two-page complaint offers no evidence of coordinated activity other than a statement that it is “evident that these groups are working together, pooling resources, staff, and coordinating their efforts.”

-- By JR Ross

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