Smoking Cain Aide Has Dubious Past

Mark Block once accused of voter suppression, banned from campaigning
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2011 5:57 AM CDT
Updated Oct 28, 2011 6:14 AM CDT
Mark Block, who shot to online fame this week when his ad for Herman Cain went viral, is a conservative political operative with a long history of dubious tactics.   (wreckandsalvage)

(Newser) – Mark Block—the Herman Cain campaign manager who shot to notoriety earlier this week by way of a campaign ad featuring him puffing on a cigarette—is an advisor with a long history of questionable tactics, reports the AP. He was banned from running Wisconsin campaigns for three years to settle accusations that he illegally coordinated a judge's 1997 re-election campaign with a special interest group; he was also accused of voter suppression last year. More from Block's record: He was arrested twice for drunk driving, faced foreclosure on two homes, was sued for an unpaid bill, and faced a tax warrant from the IRS.

First elected to county office in 1974 when he was just 18 years old, Block has spent most of his life in politics—although after getting temporarily banned from campaigning in Wisconsin and fined $15,000 in 2001, he had to stock shelves at Target to make ends meet. But he returned to politics in 2005, having taken a job as the Wisconsin director of the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity. He also helped organize the Tea Party in the state, which was how he met Cain. "Mark doesn't go to the how-to-run a campaign guide book when deciding how to do things," says a conservative operative. "He's all about advancing conservative ideals and conservative goals and he really doesn't mind stepping on toes in the process." (Click for another take on Mark Block.)

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