Eric O’Keefe, the Director of Wisconsin Club for Growth, endorsed state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate on Wednesday. Speaking on the Vicki McKenna show on WISN-AM, O’Keefe said Vukmir was “gutsy” in her support for reforms.
“She’s been through the fire here that is much like the fire on Capitol Hill,” O’Keefe said. “And we both like pointing out ways the legislature could have done better. This Wisconsin legislature from 2011 on was the best performing legislature in the country.”
O’Keefe said that Vukmir and others not only stood up for Governor Scott Walker’s reforms but also “cleaned up the mess” by supporting the elimination of the Government Accountability Board (GAB).
“So, here’s the way we can apply these lessons, the best we can right now, is nominating Leah Vukmir for U.S. Senate and sending her to the U.S. Senate,” O’Keefe said.
“No one understands the overreach of government better than Eric,” Vukmir said in a release Wednesday. “I’m honored that he puts his trust in me to be Wisconsin’s next senator and ensure our Constitutional rights are upheld.”
O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth were targeted in the unconstitutional “John Doe II” probe of conservative agencies. O’Keefe went public about the government raids and sued to end the probe. Courts at every level found the “John Doe” process was being abused for political purposes and O’Keefe’s stand brought national attention to the abuses. The victims of the John Doe II investigation are still fighting in court to get back the materials that were seized by the GAB investigators and to see punishment for the GAB officials involved.
The legislature dissolved the GAB and re-created the Election Commission and the Ethics Commission to prevent that type of rogue investigation again.
O’Keefe compared the John Doe II probe to the abuses of the IRS and other federal agencies under President Barack Obama. “The big lesson out of this, I think, is the legislative body in government, the most powerful branch according to the Constitution, U.S. and state, needs to set authority,” O’Keefe said. “It sets the budget for the (Department of Justice). It can draw people in, it can hold them in contempt, it can hold investigations, and this Congress has not been assertive enough. It hasn’t punished the IRS abusers, it hasn’t punished the FBI.”
O’Keefe also wrote an op-ed for RightWisconsin endorsing Vukmir published on Wednesday. “Leah Vukmir has spent the last eight years on the front lines of the greatest political conflict in Wisconsin history.” O’Keefe wrote. “Union bosses and career government officials tried to overrule the Legislature and the voters, but Leah defended the people and defeated the bureaucrats.”
Vukmir is running against Delafield businessman Kevin Nicholson in the August Republican primary. The winner of the primary will face the Democratic incumbent, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin. Nicholson’s campaign was asked to respond to the endorsement announcement but they did not respond by publication.
You can listen to the entire interview of O’Keefe by McKenna here, starting at 24 minutes into the broadcast: