When gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke enlisted Paula Zellner to oversee her grassroots outreach, it meant two things: she’s concerned support in the union wing of her base is anemic; and she’s willing pursue a more aggressive means to validate her progressivism.
As reported by Dan Bice of the Journal Sentinel on Wednesday, Paula Zellner held a staffing position for former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold and recently worked for the Service Employees International Union Healthcare Wisconsin (SEIU). She brings street cred to Burke’s candidacy, but Zellner’s in-your-face antics could also be a stumbling block for independent voters.
In January of 2012, Zellner was among seventeen protestors ticketed and fined for an unruly protest at a fundraiser on private property. According to the police report, Zellner was the primary agitator involved in intimidating conservative elderly donors.
Here is how officer Richard Toeller described the event in his 2012 police report:
“Ursula Lane approached me. She was a frail woman of 75 years and was trembling and near tears as a result of her treatment by the tormenters . . . As soon as she exited her vehicle, she was surrounded by a group. One of who kept trying to grab her and force her to have a photograph taken with the group; she said they were mocking her. Ralph [her husband] also told me that Ursula was trembling as a result of the confrontation.”
The protest was designed to disrupt a fundraiser for State Rep. Robin Vos and mock its attendees. Bice reports,
“The protesters -- many arriving in a stretch limousine -- were clad in top hats and dresses, pretending to be the wealthiest 1%.
Eventually, things got a little rowdy, and five police squad cars were called to the scene. A witness described Zellner as "abrasive" and the main instigator.”
That’s quite an impressive makeover. In just two years, Zellner went from a occupy protest extraordinaire to being Millionaire Mary’s hired gun.
Also listed on the police report was one Maria Morales. Anyone remember her? She was the grandma that Congressman Paul Ryan supposedly pushed off the cliff during the 2012 presidential election.
As MoveOn.org retold the story, Morales was a downtrodden Hispanic woman whose desperation as a constituent were roundly ignored and neglected by her Congressman.
According to MoveOn’s website:
“Maria Morales, a 67-year-old grandmother from Racine, simply wanted to speak with Paul Ryan about his vote to cut off her unemployment insurance. She waited more than a year and couldn't even get a phone call—and when she went to his office, Paul Ryan's staff called the police.”
MoveOn.org omitted the fact that Morales isn’t your ordinary elderly constituent. Groomed by liberal fringe group Voces de la Frontera, she bounced from cause to cause and protest to protest in the name of collective bargaining, unemployment benefits, immigration reform, and Occupy Wall Street. Morales is a professional, gaining her experience targeting Ryan’s office often resulting in fines and arrests.
Morales role as an agitator at the Vos fundraiser is not without its irony. The same grandma Ryan pushed off the cliff helped bully a 75-year-old Ursula Lane into tears.
Whether it is Morales or Zellner, it’s fascinating to watch extremists who despise the wealthy for having what they don’t be so willing to sell their ideology to the highest bidder.
Want an occupy protester to help the upper echelons win public office? No problem, just give Zellner a call. Want an ardent unionist to campaign for a wealthy exec who made millions off non-unionized labor? No problem, Zellner is just a phone call away. Need someone to scare grandma off a cliff, Zellner seems to be up for the challenge.
Wisconsin - Unionism