Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson personally paid for a controversial author to speak to leaders in Oshkosh this spring after more than a year of pointed, sometimes tense discussions with other members of a committee designed to foster collaboration between education and business leaders.

An Oshkosh Northwestern analysis of hundreds of e-mails and meeting minutes found Johnson, while serving as chairman of the Oshkosh Partners in Education Council, pushed to have Charles Murray speak despite objections from other members. The PIE council is a group of educators and business leaders who meet regularly through the auspices of the OshkoshChamber of Commerce to discuss best practices for preparing students for life after high school.

Johnson, one of two Republicans in the Sept. 14 primary vying to take on Sen. Russ Feingold in November, said he paid Murray’s $5,750 fee to encourage discussion about improving local schools and helping students achieve their full potential. Murray, a member of the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, is best known for his controversial and bestselling book, “The Bell Curve,” which discusses genetic-based intelligence and differences in abilities among ethnic groups. (Read More)