By: Brian Sikma
His liberal record coming to light and running in a newly redrawn – and more conservative leaning – district, Rep. Dean Kaufert (R) is alleged to have started a whisper campaign about his primary opponent. At the heart of the controversy is a police report from 2007 that documents a verbal altercation between Kaufert’s opponent Jay Schroeder, and Schroeder’s wife, Rebekah. The couple is still together, but mysteriously the report has been anonymously mailed to a number of Schroeder’s political supporters.
If Kaufert and his allies are behind the distribution of the police report, he has done a fairly good job keeping his fingerprints off the operation. However, Schroeder says that in at least one instance, Kaufert personally handed a copy of the report to a local Republican Party member as a campaign tactic. Kaufert knocked on the front door of the individual’s home, Schroeder alleges, and requested their endorsement and support in the upcoming August 15 primary. Assuring the person that he was the best choice, he allegedly offered the individual a copy of the police report, which he had with him.
Reached on his mobile phone by Media Trackers on Friday morning, Kaufert refused to discuss the police report and said he had no knowledge of who was distributing it.
The report details a heated verbal, but nonviolent, altercation that took place in April 2007 when Schroeder and his wife had a dispute about some family and financial matters. The police were called and they investigated the situation and filed a report detailing their findings. Domestic abuse was never charged or alleged.
According to the report, Rebekah Schroeder made several pointed accusations about her husband to one of the responding officers that evening. For his part, Schroeder’s response as documented by the report was fairly tight-lipped. He blamed the whole situation on tension the couple had experienced over the past few weeks
When asked about the matter today, Jay Schroeder candidly says the incident was unfortunate and admits he should not have reacted as he did. “My wife and I had and argument,” he says. The couple began the process of working through the strife the following day, and now 5 years later they are still together and proud of their four children.
Schroeder says he knew from the moment he entered the race his opponent would bring the issue up. That the matter is public record doesn’t bother him because he and his wife have resolved their differences. What does bother him is how Kaufert, he believes, has chosen to whisper allegations about the matter and, he says, distort the facts of what happened.
“I knew they were going to try and smear me,” he said. Despite the attacks he voiced his desire to focus the race on issues and his opponent’s long track record in Madison.
Asked by Media Trackers about the report and the tactics of its distribution, Kaufert abruptly said he didn’t want to talk about it and had no knowledge of how it was being distributed. He quickly got off the phone saying he was walking into a radio studio to tape new campaign commercials.
The primary is August 15.
2007 police report: Incident Report – Menasha PD 2007.4.18