David Clarke: Which “People’s Sheriff”?

Milwaukee County Sheriff Rakes in Most of Campaign Cash, Majority of Donations From Outside of Wisconsin

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MADISON, Wis. — An analysis of Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s most recent campaign finance report shows he raised over 61 percent of his campaign funds from outside of Wisconsin, and nearly 79 percent of his individual donations were from outside of the state. For the Tea Party jet-setter who calls himself “The People’s Sheriff,” it begs the question: which people?

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “David Clarke has raised a staggering number of donations and percentage of his campaign cash from people who don’t even live in the state of Wisconsin. He may like to call himself the ‘people’s sheriff’, but this recent finance report and his outrageous conduct in office raises the question: which people is he referring to?”

According to Clarke’s report filed this week with the Milwaukee County Elections Commission over 61 percent, or $20,145 of a total of $32,867 in donations, came from residents of states other than Wisconsin. Clarke had 922 donations, nearly 79 percent of his total, which came from outside of Wisconsin.

Clarke’s recent finance report also reveals he has received a $2,500 check from the political action committee (PAC) of the Virginia-based National Rifle Association (NRA) and a $250 personal check from the NRA-ILA Executive Director. The NRA also reported in filings with the state Government Accountability Board that it is spending significant sums in support of Clarke via their NRA Political Victory Fund. Besides the large contributions to Clarke directly from the NRA and its leadership, the organization has reportedly made a fundraising appeal on his behalf.

For his part, Clarke has toed the extreme NRA line opposing common sense measures to protect people from gun violence like expanded background checks and limits on high capacity ammunition magazines and even called for eliminating gun free zones for schools in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting.

Clarke has also received awards from some of the most extreme right-wing groups in the nation including being honored as 2013 “Sheriff of the Year” by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, an ultra-extremist group that opposes any regulations on guns and advised Cliven Bundy to use women and children as human shields in his dispute with the federal government.

Ross concluded, “David Clarke is consorting with some of the most extreme right-wing groups in America, opposes common sense measures to protect people from gun violence and has mismanaged his department and wasted taxpayer money. He may be some people’s sheriff, but is sure doesn’t seem like the people of Milwaukee County’s.”

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One Wisconsin Now specializes in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.