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A La Crosse County Board member wants his money back after he was recently called out by a left-leaning website for donating to the campaign of Paul Nehlen, a Republican candidate for Congress in Wisconsin’s 1st District deemed so offensive that he’s been kicked off Twitter and renounced by the state GOP.

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Laurence Berg

Berg

Sludge posted a story on July 4 noting that Laurence Berg of Onalaska, who represents the 18th District on the La Crosse County Board, was one of four government officials who have donated to the Nehlen campaign.

Of the four, Berg was the only elected official, and he was the biggest donor, giving $1,500 to the Nehlen campaign from mid-2017 through February. Of the other three, one State Department employee gave $225 to the campaign while two public university professors gave $1,150 and $250.

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Paul Nehlen

Nehlen

In the last quarter of 2017 and first quarter of 2018, Berg gave four donations totaling $850 to the unsuccessful campaign of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore in Alabama, who was dogged by allegations he pursued romantic relationships with underage girls when he was a district attorney. Three of Bergs four donations came after news of these allegations became public.

According to the Federal Election Commission, only 20 donors have given more to Nehlen’s campaign than Berg. The Nehlen campaign has fewer than 120 donors, only nine of them from Wisconsin, and Berg is the second biggest contributor to Nehlen’s campaign — third if you count Nehlen’s donations to his own campaign.

Berg indicated he was aware of neither the Sludge story nor Nehlen’s unsavory reputation. After doing some research into the Nehlen campaign, Berg said he planned to seek the return of his donations.

Nehlen is one of six candidates running in the Aug. 14 Republican primary for a chance to run in the Nov. 6 election. When Ryan announced April 11 that he would not run for re-election after after 20 years in Congress (three as House speaker), Nehlen was Ryan’s only announced Republican opponent.

In 2016, Nehlen lost to Ryan in the Republican primary in a lopsided race, getting only 16 percent of the vote. In that primary race, Nehlen initially was endorsed by presidential candidate Donald Trump before Trump shifted his backing to Ryan.

Nehlen has a well-reported history of using offensive language and taking controversial stands that have earned him a reputation as racist, xeonophobic, Islamaphobic, anti-Semitic and white supremacist.

For example, Nehlen published the contact information of his critics, claiming most of them were Jewish. He launched a social media campaign promoting an “It’s OK to be white” message and has taken the position the country should consider deporting all Muslims.

Last August Nehlen said he believed the infamous Pizzagate conspiracy theory that claims Democrats were keeping child sex slaves in a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant.

In February, Nehlen posted of a photo on Twitter of England’s Prince Harry that replaced the face of his biracial then-fiancee Meghan Markle with the reconstructed face of Cheddar Man, a dark-skinned man believed to be the first modern Briton. Nehlen accompanied the image with this text: “Honey does this tie make my face look pale.”

The tweet earned Nehlen a suspended Twitter account and a disavowal from the Wisconsin Republican Party, which has taken the position it will not accept membership dues from Nehlen.

“I don’t want him as part of my party,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos was quoted as saying. “It looks to me like he’s a racist bigot.”

For his part, Nehlen objects to the “white supremacist” label. “If pro-White is White supremacy, what is pro-Jewish?” Nehlen told The Washington Post in a text message last December.

Berg has a history as a generous donor to conservative candidates, supporting not only Republican candidates for statewide office but candidates for federal office outside his congressional district — such as Nehlen — and even out-of-state candidates.

Berg said he supports candidates in other districts or states if he agrees with their stands on issues. Berg said he supports Nehlen’s position on closing the Mexican border to drug traffic — especially heroin — and promoting more manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin and the United States, both of which he said were connected to a major increase in suicides.

“The suicide epidemic, which has grown apace with the opioid epidemic, has the same cause: despair,” Berg said. “Much of this despair arises from a lack of meaningful work.”

Although he said he is seeking return of his donations to Nehlen, Berg emphasized he believes he should be free to donate to any campaign. “Being elected to public office does not deprive one of his or her constitutional rights, including supporting political candidates,” Berg said.

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Entertainment and county government reporter

Randy Erickson covers arts and entertainment and county government for the La Crosse Tribune. Contact him at 608-791-8219 or randy.erickson@lee.net.

(34) comments

tower

Redwall, why not do an expose on where that money came from. It is public record. Go ahead, see if any neo Nazi sent money.

Redwall

I suppose the writer Erickson will get something special with his paycheck this week for committing this sliming of a good man Mr Berg. Probably a voucher for a free snowcone for which he will be obediently and forever grateful to the liberal Cause.

Gotta love the Fibune, opposite this article is one about Democrat gubernatorial candidate Kelda Roys who leads Dem governor candidates with $800,000 raised. None of Lee Enterprises dopey reporters dare to ask where all that Dem money came from. Its just there and its good because she is a democrat.

Cassandra2

Redwall hates the Tribune when it reports that some right-wing politician gave money to someone with Nazi ties. He then engages in the shallowest whatabout-ism demanding that the paper look into the Democratic candidate. I'm pretty sure that if the Democrat were giving money to Nazis it would rate coverage in the Tribune. I'm also sure that Lee Enterprises reporters are constantly sifting through campaign finance reports looking for inappropriate campaign contributions and spending. Redwall is just another angry crank who is PO'd that another republican has been shown to support the foulest type of candidate.

capedcrusader

Yep.

Cassandra2

The only reason Berg wants his money back is that he got called out for supporting a vile, pathetic man. Well, it's a start. Public shaming of these people makes them re-think their support of hatred.

tower

Just calling them as they are. You want to defend a white supremecist and Nazi, that makes you one too bozo. Yup Buggsy, Clinton again. Way to use whataboutism. Clinton must be the smartest President around. Never charged, never convicted.

tower

I see I hit a nerve with DeManure. The point is you clods talk around a guy who claims he knew nothing about anything. Yet he was the second highest donor of a guy who is a Nazi. Either this guy is willfully ignorant or just plain stupid. And people who divert or defend him are just like him. You fit that.

Buggs Raplin

tower, Sadly you are typical of so many leftists and their violence towards Trump supporters. You people have no political beliefs that resonate with most Americans..,so you make up charges of racism, sexism, and now, in desperation, fascism/Nazism to try to persuade your gullible liberal constituency of their correctness in following such b*llshit. People, if you support Trump, you are not a racist, you are not a fascist, you are not a Nazi; you are not a white supremacist. You are an American standing up for your country and its borders, and its Constitution. God bless you all, and please, please keep up your opposition to the liberals who want to tear the whole thing down in their drive for a politically correct socialist world.

oldhomey

Buggs, this is the deal: You aren't automatically a racist, fascist, sexist, Nazi or white supremacist simply because you support Donald Trump. What you are, however, is somebody who openly supports a guy who is demonstrably a racist, fascist, sexist, Nazi and white supremacist. And, for the evangelical Christians who so rabidly support Trump, he is, in addition to all his other faults, the antithesis of a Christian. So support him all you want, but don't whine when you are defined by the company that you keep. It is an unfortunate attribute of human nature to do so. If you don't to be lumped in with him, speak out against his faults.

capedcrusader

Have another martini Buggs. I've never met a person yet much less a President who wanted to take away your guns. Trump IS a narcissistic racist who loved to grab women by the pu**y. And yet you support him. There is no room in the constitution for people like that as far as I'm concerened but there is room in a jail cell. You have even admitted he is a criminal and yet you support him. You can shaking in your boots and keep up having your nightmares about Hillary but she is not going to run again.

Buggs Raplin

The Deep State wants an unarmed populace because they know at some point the economy is going to crash and there will be chaos, which would threaten their control of the country. Trump is indeed a war criminal for his missile attacks. But we are doomed in this country in our choices for president always having to vote for lesser of the two evils. Obama is a war criminal; Dubya a war criminal; Clinton a war criminal; and Papa Bush a war criminal. But when you are the strongest military power in the world, you can commit war crimes knowing full well the propaganda media will not label them as such.

Cassandra2

"You people have no political beliefs that resonate with most Americans." Chippy conveniently ignores the fact that Democrats took more votes in the last presidential and congressional races than republicans did, and republicans had the advantage of voter suppression, gerrymandering and the backing of the KGB.

capedcrusader

Not to mention Diebold.

Cassandra2

And, called out for spreading misinformation, Chippy vanishes. Shocking, right?

Buggs Raplin

Hey, everybody I'm a Nazi according to tower. This is Chip DeNure aka Buggs Raplin. I've long supported the Constitution of the USA especially the 1st and 2nd Amendments against liberal encroachment from the politically correct, and the gun grabbers, who would leave us at the mercy of the Deep State. So, despite my record of opposing the north/south corridor, the invasion of Iraq, and the current intrusion into Riverside Park, I am a Nazi, according to tower. Typical of liberals; they have nothing to offer except charges of racism, Nazism or whatever evil 'ism' they can foment. Meanwhile, a substantial portion of these people are now getting together to support Hillary 2020. I hope I'm dead and gone before such a thing would occur.

tower

What do you have when Buggs, redwall, bozo, and hoaxer are sitting together in a room and a Nazi walks in? Why a room full of Nazis of course.

random annoying bozo

thank you for affirming the comment I posited below.....well done.

random annoying bozo

if you disagree with the left, or say something they don't like, you automatically are some kind of 'ist' or 'phobe'....it's just the way lefties roll.

On Earth

Roy Moore did not "pursue romantic relationships with underage girls." He was (is) a sexual predator.

Buggs Raplin

But unlike Bill Clinton, he didn't forcibly rape anyone. "Better put some ice on that," stated Bill after he raped Juanita Broaddrick biting down on her lip as he did the deed.

oldhomey

I won't attempt to defend Bill Clinton, Buggs, but you rely on reports that are grounded in wind sauce and air pudding. And how do YOU know whether or not Moore ever stepped over the line or not and forced himself on an underage girl? The number of complaints against Moore is enough to make it extremely likely. But why are we arguing about two politicians whose time has passed? We have the worst human being who ever ascended to the White House to contend with now, and that is where I energies should go, to protecting the nation and the world from Donald Trump.

capedcrusader

Yea, apparently Buggs Raplin doesn't mind a President who grabs them by the pu**y.

Cassandra2

Rather than stand up for what is right, Chippy prefers to change the subject to an easier target like Bill Clinton.

joebadaxxe

Why do they scream so loudly in defense of this clown? Is it just Rupert Murdoch and Alex Jones telling them what to think? Are some Russian bots? Just who are they trying to convince? Where's climatehoax when you need him?

Buggs Raplin

What about elected officials who contributed money to Hillary Clinton? Remember her? She's running for president again. And she's a much worse personality than Nehlen.

Cassandra2

Chip DeNure is defending Nazis. What a pathetic loser.

The Mouse of Death

[angry]It would behoove Kownty Kommandant Berg to buy the county a panzer tank for its septic systems. We are indeed bemezzled by Benedict Donald when he gave H-bomb secrets to Benito Mouselini.

Redwall

Very few (two?) quotes by Berg in this entire sliming effort by the Fibune....to the effect that he believes in border control and keeping out opiates.

Not a sentence about what Berg has accomplished on the County Board. It might occur to a real actual journalist that actions and his own words are more indicative of a man's contributions.

The sad state of journalism on display.

capedcrusader

Perhaps Berg likes the notion of"romantic relationships with underage girls. Three of Bergs four donations came after news of these allegations became public". Btw, what has he accomplished on the County Board? You usually just cut the members down. Be honest now, you support Berg because he's a Republican.

Mr Wizard

Do you suppose it's time that the left-leaning websites start investigating people who donate to the political campaigns of candidates who are avowed communists and socialists and demand the money is returned? Wait, what am I thinking!

kingman10

no wizard, that would be the job of right leaning websites to investigate socialists and communist and see what kind of head lines they could garner, which I expect very little.

Cassandra2

You use the term "avowed communists and socialists" like a criminal charge. I'd just like to point out that capitalism is mentioned NOWHERE in the Constitution. Capitalism is a tool, and one that is not currently working for the majority of Americans. There is nothing wrong with citizens exploring using other tools to ensure justice and opportunity are available to all. There is something incredibly wrong, however, with supporting racists and Nazis for public office. And your defense of these people speaks volumes about your priorities.

WuTang

I think it’s time for him to resign

Frangel45

Lovely, the twisted minds infiltrating our local politics...

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