In the heated battle over the state budget, some local businesses have found themselves scrutinized and targeted by politically minded consumers.
M&I Bank, whose executives contributed to Gov. Scott Walker, has been picketed and had customers close their accounts. This year an alternative brat fest is in the works to compete with the one traditionally held on Memorial Day with food donated by Johnsonville Sausage, whose executives and owners have supported Walker.
Both Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and County Executive Joe Parisi ran for office promising to fight the agenda advanced by Walker and legislative Republicans. But neither is keen to take a position on these actions.
"I do not advocate anyone to participate in a boycott," says Soglin. "That's their own decision. But I do believe we should have more information and knowledge about the role of companies in either raising money or making the decisions to air [political] ads."
Parisi takes a similar stance. "People have the right to spend or not to spend with any business they choose," he says. "I certainly understand people's anger, and people are expressing their anger in a number of ways."
But Parisi does not back any boycotts, either as an individual or on behalf of Dane County. Indeed, he says, "When we look at boycotts, we have to be extremely careful about unintended consequences."