Early on in Scott Milne’s epic appearance on WDEV’s Mark Johnson Show last Friday, the Republican gubernatorial candidate unleashed a tough accusation against Governor Shumlin’s team — basically accusing them of bringing political pressure to bear against Republican donors.
Johnson had asked Milne about fundraising, and specifically about his relatively paltry take of $20,000 so far. Milne asserted that things were going according to plan, and said “I’m not all that actively pursuing money yet.” Johnson was surprised by this, and asked “You’re not actively pursuing money?” And Milne responded:
We’ve got a strategy for fundraising. I’ve got a fundraiser on board and she knows what she’s doing. But I’m not going to spend eight hours a day on the phone begging for money, and I’m clearly not going to call people up who donate to my opponent and ask them why, which is a widely known fact about this administration.
Emphasis mine. Johnson was a bit incredulous, and followed up: “They do that? To people who contribute to you?” Milne’s response:
No, not me. But in the past. Get people on the show and ask them. But that’s clearly part of the Shumlin agenda.
Milne didn’t directly present this as a case of political blackmail, but that was the clear intent. A pretty damning accusation, presented completely without evidence. Yeah, “get people on the show and ask them.” As if victims of political pressure would freely own up to it on the radio.
Well, I ran this by Erika Wolffling, Shumlin campaign staffer this year and in 2012, which would seem to be the year Milne is hinting at. (A pressure play would have been ineffective in 2010, when Shumlin wasn’t even Governor yet.) Her very concise response:
That’s a bizarre statement, and it’s absolutely false.
So there. Ball’s in your court, Mr. Milne. If you have people willing to substantiate your accusation — on or off the record — I would be happy to speak with them. If you’ve read my stuff for very long, you know that I’m a liberal but an honest broker, willing to criticize members of any party if they’re in the wrong. And if there’s evidence that this accusation isn’t “absolutely false,” I’d consider it newsworthy and I would report it in this space. You know where to find me.
The Milne Transcripts series will continue very soon.