Wisconsin State Statute 11.10(4) states, "No Candidate may establish more than one personal campaign committee." This is one of the campaign finance laws that Jason Auerbach - a campaign volunteer for Bill Buresh - alleges Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic to have violated.
Auerbach says that Dimitrijevic has illegally coordinated political activities between her reelection committee and a Political Action Committee (PAC) she had started to elect more "progressive" members to the County Board. His point, more or less, is that Dimitrijevic has confused the proper legal functions of the two committees making them one and the same.
Part of the confusion starts when Dimitrijevic put herself and her treasurer in control of both committees. "When the same people in her campaign are also the same people in her PAC that alone is at minimum grounds for allegation," says Auerbach.
The public may not completely understand the nuances of campaign finance law, but one thing they do understand is Facebook. Auerbach says that Supervisor Dimitrijevic's campaign committee and PAC Facebook posts are sometimes indistinguishable sending identical messages at the same time.
Buresh described Auerbach as a strong asset to his campaign. "But when Jason truly believes that someone is being unscrupulous, he's like a pit-bull that won't let go. What's important to my campaign is that we continue to stay on message," Buresh told us. When we asked how a campaign volunteer filing a complaint against his opponent is "staying on message," Buresh reiterated that it was Jason's decision and that he would not be deterred.
El Conquistador also contacted Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic for a response. In an email, she said, "I have not seen the packet [Auerbach's packet]. Can you send it to be so I can respond?"
However, Dimitrijevic had already issued a response to her followers saying, "Today, an individual directly affiliated with my opponent's campaign posted a letter he wrote full of unfounded allegations regarding my campaign finances. These accusations are false and furthermore, I authored the very legislation that now makes all county campaign finance reports available online."
When we asked Dimitrijevic why she responded to allegations without seeing the packet earlier, yet required the packet to respond to us, she answered, "I decided not to comment to your paper." This didn't stop her, however, from spoon-feeding disreputable left-wing blogger Chris Liebenthal - previously suspended from his County job for doing political work on a County computer - with a copy of her nomination petitions.
Jason Auerbach also alleges that Dimitrijevic's PAC failed to file three separate required campaign finance reports - two reports last spring and one report required for this spring's pre-primary. In her response, Dimitrijevic called the allegations unfounded, false, and explained she had authored legislation that makes all county campaign finance reports available online. The problem, however, is that her PAC neglected to file their finance reports by the required deadline.
On March 7th, Next Generation Milwaukee PAC treasurer Brian Randall filed three reports with the Milwaukee County Board of Election Commissioners, the same three reports that Auerbach alleged were not filed by the required deadlines. According to Auerbach, two of the reports filed by Randall on Wednesday were a year late while the other report should have been filed on February 13th of this year. Randall explained he believed they "complied with Wisconsin campaign finance laws at all times," but decided to file last year's campaign finance reports a day after Auerbach had issued complaints with Milwaukee's D.A.
In response to allegations, Dimitrijevic said she authored a transparency bill requiring that all campaign finance reports be posted online. However, Next Generation Milwaukee PAC finance reports from last year weren't filed until Wednesday. Auerbach told us in an email, "I'm glad to see they accepted responsibility and filed the proper reports. I'll wait to see the penalties incurred due to the late filing and will expect prompt payment upon that determination."
The public has a right to know that their representatives are following the law. By refusing to respond to El Conquistador, Dimitrijevic indicates that the constituency we serve doesn't deserve answers. In an earlier email exchange, Supervisor Dimitrijevic made clear that our paper doesn't deserve a response due to our small readership. Perhaps Dimitrijevic is more concerned about her Bayview constituents than Latinos in her own district. Either way, shame on Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic for refusing to respond to our inquiries. She is, for the time being at least, still a County Supervisor.