GREEN BAY, Wis. (WTAQ) - Rumors of an "old boy network" in Washington D.C. politics are apparently true.
Two Congressional sources tell 97.5/1360 News Talk WTAQ that members of the Wisconsin delegation have an unwritten agreement not to campaign against one another.
For example, 8th Congressional District GOP candidate Reid Ribble didn't have current Wisconsin U.S. Representatives Paul Ryan or Jim Sensenbrenner campaign for him in northeast Wisconsin, because Ribble's opponent, Democrat Steve Kagen, is an incumbent.
While Ryan campaigned for 7th Congressional District Republican candidate Sean Duffy, because Duffy is running for an open seat following Democrat Dave Obey's decision not to seek re-election.
One of the sources says this dates back at least 40 years, but hasn't become an issue until now due to the dynamics of this election cycle.
The sources say this agreement allows members from both parties to work together in the common interest of the Badger State. Examples of these areas include protection of University of Wisconsin's intellectual property, agriculture and securing transportation funds.
Many small state delegations apparently have similar agreements in an effort to make sure federal dollars return to Wisconsin and not completely to large states like Texas or California.
Because of this area, both sources say bad blood from incumbent campaigning against incumbent would prevent them from working together in this fashion. Since this silent pact is in place, both sides have worked together successfully in the best interests of Wisconsin.
However, we're told either side would "never say never" in terms of breaking the agreement, but only in cases such as severe ethical allegations.
Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman Reince Priebus says those rumors of an "old boys network" among the state's Congressional delegation are just that...rumors.
"I'm not aware of any unwritten rule nor am I in any position to comment on it," Priebus says. "To me it just sounds like a bunch of fiction."
Priebus also wouldn't comment on the effect that this unwritten rule has on the 8th District race between Ribble and Kagen.