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Wednesday, November 26, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 18.0° F  Fog/Mist
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Epic updates WMC stance as Cullen fallout spreads

Epic Systems issued a new statement on Friday in its feud with Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, stressing the bipartisan nature of its executives deciding to avoid doing business with firms that support the big-business group.

"Our decision-making process was thoughtful and deliberate," the managers said, involving multiple management teams whose members "represented all political persuasions -- from conservative to liberal, and everywhere in between."

The software giant's decision to shun WMC supporters apparently prompted J.P. Cullen & Sons, the contractor building Epic's new Verona campus, to drop its WMC membership and for its president and CEO David Cullen to resign from the business group.

The new message attempts to recast a dispute that has been portrayed as a partisan battle pitting Epic's liberal founder Judy Faulkner challenging the right-wing electioneering of WMC's affiliates, who helped unseat Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler in a nasty spring election.

Blaming WMC for the mud-throwing, Epic's managers said: "We believe that what we tolerate is what we stand for, and as corporate citizens, we stand for the preservation of the foundation of the judicial system."

Epic's decision to challenge the powerful big-business lobby has been cheered on by WMC's liberal critics such as Paul Soglin, but UW-Madison law professor Howard Schweber cautioned that Epic's actions could constitute an illegal boycott.

That's a heckuva dichotomy for the public to consider: Epic is either a bully trying to force its politics on its quaking contractors -- or a hero bravely challenging the smash-face politics of the WMC goon squad.

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