New Berlin Citizens for Responsible Government (NBCRG) is using its NOW blog again to endorse candidates for election.
If you’ve heard or read that NBCRG is a civic or watchdog group, don’t be fooled. NBCRG is actually a political action group. In fact, NBCRG states on its own Web site that the group was formed in March 2002 and since its inception, has functioned as a political action committee.
It lists this objective on its Web site: “To recruit and to help elect candidates to public office that best express the positions taken by this organization.” Obviously, NBCRG has a political agenda.
NBCRG functions like an exclusive club, as well. When a taxpaying New Berlin resident contacted NBCRG via email and requested to join the group, she was turned down. NBCRG President Ralph Heun responded that NBCRG was a “private organization”. How do I know this? The outraged woman forwarded copies of their correspondence to my blog. I referred to the situation in a past blog entry called “Private NBCRG; Court Race”
The NBCRG Web site asserts that NBCRG has actively recruited and supported candidates for public office in every year of its existence. However, on its NOW blog, NBCRG President Ralph Heun claims NBCRG has for many years, invited all candidates for public office to its meetings to hear what they had to say and question them--and then NBCRG decides if it wants to make any endorsements. And then it decides? One would think NBCRG would not “actively recruit” candidates for public office that it didn’t intend to endorse.
On its Web site NBCRG states its primary emphasis has been on city and school board races. Hmmm. For the upcoming election, NBCRG is endorsing candidates for County Board, State Supreme Court, School Board, and Aldermanic races.
Isn't it interesting that NBCRG boasts on its Web site that it actively recruits and supports candidates for public office -- and routinely puts disclaimers on campaign fliers that it’s a political action committee which acts independently of and without consultation with any candidate or candidate’s committee?
Here are some other examples of NBCRG communication and operation------
In 2004, NBCRG advertised on its Web site that it was interviewing 3 school board candidates at its meeting and that the public was welcome. I decided to attend and contacted a few others, who expressed interest in attending, too. But when we arrived at the door, we were told that the meeting was “private”. I suspected something like that would happen, so took the precaution of printing out a copy of the NBCRG’s web page re: the meeting (and public being encouraged to attend) and brought it with me. After showing it to the NBCRG member barring our entrance (the former president of New Berlin Taxpayers Alliance) we were allowed to stay--but only for the interviews. After the interviews, NBCRG members asked us to leave because they wanted to have a discussion related to the interviews.
Each of the three school board candidates was interviewed separately and were not asked the same questions. Herb Eggie, who was then president of NBCRG, spent time grilling SB candidate Greg Schoepke about the Heritage Foundation, a Washington DC-based conservative think tank! SB Candidates Brent Chipman and Marc Duff weren’t asked questions about the Heritage Foundation. During his interview, Brent Chipman had little to say of substance. He spouted that taxes were too high and some anti-teacher union rhetoric. In contrast, Marc Duff, a former Wisconsin legislator, was articulate and seemed better informed about the School District. So, who did NBCRG endorse? Brent Chipman. I wasn’t surprised that New Berlin voters elected Marc Duff to the School Board instead of Brent Chipman.
At a 2005 New Berlin School Board Meeting, Herb Eggie gave a privilege of the floor speech touting his New Berlin Citizens for Responsible Government organization. I remember thinking what an inappropriate speech it was and wondering what the topic had to do with children’s education.
A few minutes later, a high school student gave a privilege of the floor speech that caused laughter to erupt in the audience. In his speech, the student remarked that when he and another student had tried to attend a NBCRG meeting, they were told they could stay -- if each put $20 on the table.