In late September 2011, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's office notified Rep. Paul Ryan's office with some good news. The U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs had awarded a grant to a Wisconsin veteran's home to help renovate its water distribution system. Walker's office just needed Ryan's people to sign off on the press release. But what started out as a routine matter quickly turned into a minor panic among aides to the two Republicans.
Wendy Riemann, Walker's director of federal relations, sent an email to Ryan's communications director, Kevin Seifert, asking for a quote from the congressman.
"Not sure if you're doing your own release, etc.," Riemann emailed on Sept. 26. "Let me know -- we'll wait to hear from you either way before putting it out."
Seifert replied with a simple message: Stop the presses. He had one concern. Could the grant be tied to federal stimulus funds?
"Not to create more work for you all but -- do you have any idea where the money for this grant came from? Was it from the stimulus/the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act?" Seifert wrote. "Our concern is that if it's stimulus funds, we won't want to highlight (and would think you guys wouldn't either)."
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