According to recent campaign finance reports, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele paid former Democratic Party spokesman $10,000 for unspecified "research" in 2013.
Zielinski, fired from his position as spokesman after comparing Gov. Walker to Jeffery Dahmer, is perhaps best know in recent months for his arrest for drunk driving in Jefferson County and his ongoing rants in Twitter.
One of Zielinski's primary targets on Twitter in recent months has been Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. Sheriff Clarke also just happens to be a political nemesis of Chris Abele.
On numerous occasions, Zielinski has directly accused Clarke of specific acts of domestic abuse. Last May, shortly after he lost his job as DPW spokesman, Zielinski tweeted that Clarke's "wife beating was one of the things about which I had to stay silent. No more. David Clarke hits women. A true fact."
In January, Zielinski tweeted that Clarke "broke his wife's left arm and previously had caused bruises on her arms and face." He has offered no proof of the accusations, which he has repeated in various forms dozens of times.
The accusations appear to have been made while Zielinski was in the pay of Abele's campaign committee.
In response to Zielinski's smears, Sheriff Clarke told RightWisconsin:
"Categorically deny. Not only is it totally false, their is nothing even close to it, not even a misunderstanding or some other taken out of context explanation. I'm actually insulted by the accusation, not by your asking but by them. Julie is repulsed by this type of smear after I told her."
Abele has repeatedly clashed with Clarke over budget issues. Clarke has responded to Abele's efforts by calling Abele a 'vindictive little man' and has suggested he be drug tested. Last February, Clarke said Abele's attacks were a symptom of "penis envy."
On the surface, Abele has not been so personal.
But is he paying Graeme Zielinski to do his dirty work?
Specifically: was Abele paying Zielinski for research on Clarke? Was he bankrolling the smear of Clarke?
Will Abele say what the $10,000 payment for used for? What research?
And is Abele now willing to distance himself and his campaign from the public statements of his paid operative?
Below is a sampling of Zielinski's hate-filled, unhinged tweets on Clarke.
So, did Chris Abele pay Graeme Zielinski to smear Sheriff Clarke?