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In this combination of undated file photos is Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, left, and his Democratic gubernatorial opponent Mary Burke. The Wisconsin Republican Party filed a complaint with the state elections board Tuesday, July 22, 2014 over a full-page newspaper ad by Trek Bicycle Corp., saying it amounts to an illegal contribution to Burke who is the sister of Trek president John Burke. / AP

Wisconsin is still three weeks from its primary, but the expected general election battle between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Mary Burke, his likely Democratic opponent, already is shaping up to be a brutal one.

On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Republican Party filed an official complaint against Trek Bicycle Corp. with the state's Government Accountability Board, charging the company made an illegal contribution to Burke when it bought a full-page newspaper ad blasting Walker and defending the company.

The Trek ad, which was published in Sunday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, came in response to a television ad by Walker's campaign that targeted Burke's time at the company. The Walker ad shows a woman reading a boy and girl a story suggesting that Burke shipped jobs to China, where some workers earn only $2 per hour.

Burke served as an executive at the Wisconsin-based company, which her father founded. Her brother, John Burke, is now president of Trek. The television advertisement never specifically mentions Trek.

"Over the past few months, much has been said about Trek. Gov. Walker's campaign recently ran an inaccurate political ad about Trek. This compels me to set the record straight," John Burke wrote in the ad that also said Trek supports 58 small businesses in the state and has donated millions of dollars to local charities.

In its complaint, Wisconsin Republican Party executive director Joe Fadness said that state law prohibits corporate contributions to candidates' campaign committees.

While the newspaper ad didn't mention Mary Burke directly, Fadness argued in the complaint that it specifically takes aim at the Walker campaign and included language mirroring talking points from the Burke campaign.

"Mary Burke's campaign revolves around her time spent at Trek, and voters have the right to know details of her record there, including the shipping of Wisconsin jobs overseas," Fadness said. "Trek should not be used as a support vehicle against fair attacks, and we ask that the Government Accountability Board ensure that Trek immediately cease using corporate dollars to influence this election."

As the Walker campaign has tried to label Burke as an outsourcer of American jobs, Burke and Democratic surrogates have sought to highlight Walker's record creating jobs in the state.

In his first run for office, Walker pledged to create 250,000 jobs before the end of his first term. Wisconsin has gained about 114,000 jobs since Walker took office in January 2011.

Recent polls show the incumbent Walker, who has also been mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential contender, holds a small lead over Burke.



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Wisconsin GOP files complaint against Trek over Walker ad

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