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Mark Block (born c. 1954) is an American political strategist who served as chief of staff for the 2012 Republican presidential campaign for Herman Cain.[1] Block has previously worked for Americans for Prosperity.[2][3]

Background[edit]

In 1974, Block became the first 18-year-old ever elected to office in Wisconsin, when he won a position on the Winnebago County Board of Supervisors.[4][5] In the late 1970s, he worked for Republican Congressman William A. Steiger until Steiger's death in 1978, and then took a job with NCR Corporation from 1979 to 1991.[6]

Block has run and consulted on numerous campaigns in Wisconsin since the 1980s. Among others, he ran Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson's second re-election campaign in 1990.[7] Following the 1997 campaign of Jon P. Wilcox for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, allegations were made by the Wisconsin Elections Board of election law violations. These were settled in 2001 when Block agreed to pay a $15,000 fine (though, without admitting any wrongdoing) and not to work on any campaigns until 2004.[4][8]

By 2007, Block was serving as the Wisconsin director of the "pro-business" political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity.[9]

Cain campaign[edit]

Block met Herman Cain while working as Wisconsin state director for Americans for Prosperity, and both were traveling to meetings in launching branches in Ohio and Michigan. At a March 2010 dinner with Cain in Las Vegas, Block and campaign aide Linda Hansen pitched a plan for how Cain could become a legitimate contender for the 2012 Republican nomination for President.[4] Block's rising profile in the Cain campaign (including an October 3, 2011 profile in The Daily Caller[4]) gained additional attention on October 24–25, 2011, when a campaign ad showing Block smoking a cigarette caused widespread consternation and amusement.[10][11]

On October 30, 2011, allegations surfaced that the Cain campaign may have been illegally funded by Block's Prosperity USA.[12][13] As a tax-exempt charity, Prosperity USA is not allowed to donate money or services to a political campaign.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Block grew up in Weyauwega, Wisconsin, where he graduated from Weyauwega-Fremont High School in 1972. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh (1977). He is married, with two children.[2][15][16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gilbert, Craig (8 October 2011). State native helps to direct Cain's ascent, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  2. ^ a b "Herman Cain’s deep ties to Koch brothers key to campaign." AP, 16 October 2011.
  3. ^ Biography - Mark Block, americansforprosperity.com, Retrieved October 25, 2011
  4. ^ a b c d (3 October 2011). Meet Mark Block, the man who talked Herman Cain into running for president, The Daily Caller
  5. ^ Kleefeld, Eric (25 October 2011). Smoking America: A Look At Mark Block, Talking Points Memo
  6. ^ http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mark-block/6/1a3/70
  7. ^ Associated Press (15 April 2010). Some in Tea Party to skip state rally, Beloit Daily News
  8. ^ Chaptman, Dennis (6 March 2001). Campaign Finance Lawsuit Settled, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
  9. ^ (5 November 2007). Groups calls to West Bend are legal, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  10. ^ Now is the time for action!, youtube.com, Retrieved October 25, 2011 (uploaded October 19, 2011)
  11. ^ (25 October 2011). Where There’s Smoke, There’s Herman Cain’s New Web Video?, Fox News Channel
  12. ^ Bice, Daniel. "State firm's cash to Herman Cain may breach federal campaign, tax laws." Journal Sentinel, 30 October 2011.
  13. ^ Benjamin, Mark. "The Other Cain Scandal: Campaign Transactions May Have Broken Federal Law." Time Magazine, 1 November 2011.
  14. ^ Eggen, Dan. "Herman Cain campaign’s financial ties to Wisconsin charity questioned." Washington Post, 31 October 2011.
  15. ^ Kurtz, Bill (30 October 1992). Towns get up steam for Bush's visits, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ("A Weyauwega native, Mark Block, is a senior adviser to Bush's Wisconsin campaign")
  16. ^ http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mark-block/6/1a3/70

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