Wisconsin Dems embrace April fools'
March 30th, 2011
04:04 PM ET
12 years ago

Wisconsin Dems embrace April fools'

(CNN)–Wisconsin Democrats aren't pulling any punches, or punchlines, when it comes to recent comments made by freshman GOP Rep. Sean Duffy. Last week the congressman told a constituent that, although the annual salary for congressional members is $174,000, "I struggle to meet my bills right now."

In a town hall meeting last week, Duffy told constituents he was no stranger to their struggles though he receives a six-figure salary as a member of congress. When questioned about how much members of the U.S. House and Senate make, and whether he'd vote to receive a pay cut to battle the deficit, Duffy said "I guarantee most of you, I have more debt than all of you. With six kids, I still pay off my student loans. I still pay my mortgage. I drive a used minivan. If you think I'm living high off the hog, I've got one paycheck."

But Wednesday the Democratic Party of Wisconsin posted a flyer on their website advertising a food and clothing drive for "Poor Sean Duffy." Except the drive is billed as being sponsored by the Polk County Republicans, and the drive date? A telling April 1, 2011.

"Cutting benefits for working-class Wisconsin is hard work," it reads, imploring supporters to "Please give anything" from "French-cuffed shirts" to "oyster spoons" and "used cashmere."

"We're making fun with it but the real joke is on the residents in the north woods of Wisconsin," said Graeme Zielinski, spokesman for the Wisconsin Democratic Party. "This is a working-class district and he does not represent them well."

The drive date may be April Fools' Day, but everyone isn't laughing.

Duffy spokesman Daniel Son responded to the flap Wednesday when he told CNN, "Congressman Duffy wasn't complaining, he was simply pointing out that he's no stranger to tough times."

"He didn't run for Congress to get rich, he ran for Congress because he was increasingly concerned that the direction our nation was going would leave the next generation with an America that is less prosperous, less secure and less free. He is serious about facing our fiscal crisis head on, and he's not interested in scoring cheap political points – which is exactly what partisan Democrats are trying to do here with a misleading attack that distracts from the real issues at hand," Son stated.

Filed under: Congress • Sean Duffy
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Pretzel Logic

    He's a tool and he's getting called out for it. GOOD!

    March 30, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. Poser

    "he was simply pointing out that he's no stranger to tough times."

    If he's making over 100K per year he is absolutely a stranger to tough times. For him to make statements about struggling on that income speaks volumes about just how clueless the GOP is about the life experience for average Americans. His income of $175,000 is way above the average family income and his wife doesn't have to go to work. Most American families require both parents go to work.

    As DTB pointed out in another thread:
    More proof that Republicans have no idea how to count.
    175k/year for a republican = Poor
    50k/year for a teacher = Rich

    March 30, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
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