April 22, 2011- In the piece posted here on Wednesday entitled, “What Is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Not Telling Us About Financial Stress Test Legislation”, I recounted the story of a Wisconsin private security guard, Lance Gosnell, who claims to have overheard a conversation involving a gentleman Gosnell believes to be Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald. The alleged conversation took place on an elevator in the State Capital building.
According to Mr. Gosnell, he listened as the parties discussed the blog posted by Wisconsin Democratic political player and one time gubernatorial candidate, Ed Garvey, suggesting that Gov. Walker might be planning to introduce emergency financial legislation – something Walker has emphatically denied.
During the conversation, one of the parties speculated as to whether “Jason” might have been responsible for the leak(s) that gave life to the story.
As noted in my previous post, Fitzgerald’s office has denied that the Speaker was on the elevator where the conversation allegedly occurred, and, in the event he was present, he would not have been engaged in a conversation on this topic.
Since the publication of this piece, speculation as to who ‘Jason’ might be has become a point of interest among many Wisconsinites who are actively following this story. After all, if Jason turned out to be a person of knowledge in this matter, and the individual referencing him as a possible leaker was, in fact, the Speaker of the Assembly, this would certainly give credence to the notion that important people in Wisconsin were taking the story seriously.
That speculation has now turned to Jason Childress, a lobbyist employed by the law firm of Foley & Lardner, the Wisconsin based firm with strong ties to Gov. Scott Walker and the Walker administration. It is also the law firm once run by Walker campaign chairman and Walker transition team leader, Mike Grebe.
Grebe now serves as the CEO for the uber-conservative Bradley Foundation and has previously served as Chairman of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, both clients of the Foley law firm.
As previously reported here, it is the Foley firm, one of the nation’s largest law practices, that is drafting legislation on behalf of their client, the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC) – legislation that would create the financial stress test that would be imposed on Wisconsin municipalities.
The GMC, while acknowledging that it has retained Foley & Lardner to create this legislation, insists that the stress test would be primarily for the purpose of creating more transparency in local government while allowing citizens to better know the financial condition of their cities and towns. The organization says that the bill being created would not provide Governor Walker with the impetus to be used in an effort to pass legislation granting him the powers required to take over control of Wisconsin municipalities similar to those powers recently granted to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.