Key Assembly Republicans renewed their call Friday for overhauling the state’s elections and ethics board after The Wall Street Journal reported the agency had been in touch with the Internal Revenue Service as it investigated conservative groups.
MORE from the Capital Times:
Thursday’s WSJ op-ed alleges that Kennedy’s and former IRS official Lois Lerner’s scrutiny of conservative groups “may be more than a coincidence.” Lerner resigned in 2013 amid allegations that the IRS had targeted conservative groups for audits.
“Emails we’ve seen show that between 2011 and 2013 the two were in contact on multiple occasions, sharing articles on topics including greater donor disclosure and Wisconsin’s recall elections,” reads the opinoin piece, which ran without a byline. “The emails indicate the two were also personal friends who met for dinner and kept in professional touch.”
Kennedy, in an email, responded, “Ms. Lerner is a professional friend who I have known for more than 20 years,” with no further comment.
A spokesman for the GAB said Kennedy would have a response to the op-ed and the calls for his resignation later today.
While the op-ed suggests that Kennedy and Lerner had a cozy relationship, the emails it claims to have uncovered don’t appear to reveal any concerted effort by Kennedy and Lerner to stifle right-wing political groups.
The column instead refers to Kennedy’s dismay in campaign finance disclosure laws.
“In an email exchange in July 2011, Mr. Kennedy sent Ms. Lerner an article in the Racine Journal-Times on the declining relevance of public campaign financing amid more private and ‘special interest’ money,” reads the column. “’Note the last paragraph where the paper supports more transparency,’” Mr. Kennedy writes to Ms. Lerner. ‘The Legislature has killed our corporate disclosure rules.’”
See also the press release attacking Kevin Kennedy.