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UPDATE: GOP says Moore used public school email for political activity; Weix breaks silence to complain

MADISON - Shelly Moore didn't violate campaign rules by using her Ellsworth school account to send emails, claims a Democratic Party spokesperson. But the man, who entered the campaign only to delay the final recall election, says Moore has violated the "integrity of the legal democratic process" and should withdraw her candidacy.

On Wednesday, the Republican Party of Wisconsin filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Board, accusing Moore of knowingly violating state law by using taxpayer-funded resources for political activity.

Moore, an Ellsworth High School teacher and WEAC union leader, is challenging incumbent Sheila Harsdorf in the 10th Senate District recall election. Isaac Weix, who has run in other elections as a Republican, filed this time as a Democrat to force a primary election in July.

Weix, who until now has avoided talking to the press about his own candidacy, called a reporter Thursday morning to ask to comment on the email allegations.

"Using government assets for a political campaigning is serious," said Weix. "This problem will not go away or be swept under the rug. If (Moore) wins the primary her legal problems will not go away."

The GOP says several clearly political emails were turned over to Republicans following an open records request into Moore's School District email account.

According to copies provided by the GOP, in one exchange, Moore said, "We're not supposed to use school email, but since all of our rights are being taken away, I don't frankly care."

The Wisconsin Public Purpose Doctrine prohibits the use of government resources for a nonpublic purpose such as campaign activity, and political candidates are prohibited under state law from unlawfully accepting anything of value for campaign purposes.

Moore's emails reference organization of the effort to begin the recall campaign against Harsdorf, who is targeted for her vote in favor of the public union bargaining restrictions.

In a press release, Wisconsin Republican Party Executive Director Stephan Thompson said it's unacceptable to "thumb your nose at state law" to build a campaign. The GOP also questions whether Moore could be a credible senator, saying, "If she feels she is above the laws of this state she certainly has no business having a hand in creating them."

"The emails reveal a clear picture of a highly partisan union organizer seizing an opportunity to jump-start a political career, all while on the taxpayers' dime," said Thompson. "True leaders aren't inspired by anger, and they don't excuse themselves from following the law."

State Democrats responded for Moore, saying the recall effort didn't exist in March and April when the emails were written.

"Shelly Moore was absolutely not campaigning with taxpayer dollars. No campaign even existed when these emails were sent," said Gillian Morris, press secretary for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, in a statement emailed to the Hudson Star-Observer.

"This is nothing more than a political stunt intended to distract voters from how vulnerable Sheila Harsdorf is," Morris continued. "Voters are rejecting her radical, divisive policies that raise taxes on middle class and working families. That's why 23,000 people signed petitions to recall her. She needs to stop playing politics, and start listening to the people of her district."

Judy Wiff

Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.