Are Graeme Zielinski’s tweets part of a smear campaign?

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Graeme Zielinski, the former Wisconsin Democratic Party's spokesman accuses the Milwaukee County Sheriff of domestic violence. Sheriff David Clarke denies it. Now, conservatives are questioning whether some controversial tweets sent out by Zielinski are part of a smear campaign.

Graeme Zielinski was removed from his post as Wisconsin Democratic Party spokesman in March of 2013. This, after he published tweets comparing Gov. Scott Walker to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

Zielinski tweeted “What do @GovWalker and Jeffrey Dahmer have in common?" — and “@GovWalker had better lawyers than Jeffrey Dahmer in beating the rap. Clear that he committed crimes.”

The tweet was sent out days after Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm ruled Gov. Walker would not face charges in a John Doe investigation into several of his former aides and associates.

Earlier this month, FOX6 News learned that Zielinski was hired by Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele during the summer of 2013. Zielinski was paid $10,000 for campaign research.

Abele and Sheriff Clarke are well-known opponents, and have a history of disagreements -- some of which have played out publicly through the media.

Now, Abele is addressing accusations from Sheriff Clarke and other conservatives that he is bankrolling a campaign to smear the Sheriff.

"It sounds like they're looking for an argument. I'm not. I'm looking for solutions," Abele said.

Conservative talk radio host Charlie Sykes is attempting to link Zielinski's work as a political consultant for Abele, to tweets sent from Zielinski's personal Twitter account.

"Everybody knows Chris Abele is lying. He's behind this. This is election year politics. That slimeball Zielinski specializes in one thing -- smear politics, and that's character assassination. For Chris Abele to belly up to this guy, of all people, really shows the low character of Chris Abele," Sheriff Clarke said on Syke's radio show Monday, February 24th.

Zielinski says his consulting work ended last summer. He says there's a reson conservatives are bringing this issue up now -- to distract from coverage of the 27,000 emails released last week in the Scott Walker John Doe investigation.

"This has nothing to do with Chris Abele. They don't want to be talking about the emails that show Fran McLaughlin and all of these other Scott Walker employees engaging in illegal activity. They want to change the subject," Zielinski said.

Abele says he hired Zielinski for his political acumen and his reputation as a thorough researcher.

"He's a great writer. He wrote for the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and he knows how to do research," Abele said.

Zielinski says Sheriff Clarke, as an elected official, is the one who must answer for his statements. In the past, Sheriff Clarke has likened Abele to a heroin addict, and has accused him of having penis envy.

"His bully cowboy mentality has to stop. I'm not going to be bullied by it and I don't think anybody in Milwaukee County wants it either," Zielinski said.

Sheriff Clarke says Zielinski's tweets about him "beating his wife" have "crossed the line." He says he is considering legal action.

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