Daily Archives: February 13, 2012

Nation of Change: Koch Brothers, ALEC, Governor Walker Renew Reagan Delusion

-By John Nichols

February 13, 2012- In February, 2011, Scott Walker was just another Republican governor. A favorite of Newt Gingrich, billionaire Tea Partisans Charles and David Koch and wealthy advocates for privatization of education, the Wisconsinite had his national fans on the conservative circuit. But he was not a player, and no one (except perhaps Walker) thought he was headed for the national spotlight. Among the Republican governors ushered into power by the Republican wave of 2010, he was ranked with the “assistant Walmart manager” group of drab mandarins, along with Iowa’s Terry Branstad, South Dakota’s Dennis Daugaard and Oklahoma’s Mary Fallin. He didn’t have the national stature of Ohio’s John Kasich or Kansan Sam Brownback, nor the wild-eyed “say anything” appeal of Arizona’s Jan Brewer or Maine’s Paul LePage.

Politiscoop: Bill would force ALEC to disclose corporate contributors

-By Paul I. Tascoupe

February 13, 2012- MADISON – Today, Democratic legislators formally submitted a bill for introduction that would clamp down on special interest organizations that write bills for legislators.

Recently, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has drawn criticism for acting as lobbyists for corporate legislation while being exempted from registering as a lobbying group with the Government Accountability Board. Many ALEC bills became law this session, including several of Governor Walker’s special session bills that made it harder for victims to sue corporations for wrongdoing.

“Last August, I infiltrated the ALEC convention and got a first-hand look at what they are up to,” said Pocan. “ALEC is like a speed dating service for lonely legislators and corporate executives. The corporations write bills and legislators sign their names to the bills. In the end, we’re stuck with bad laws and nobody knows where they came from.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Vos says redistricting talking points were prepared for him

-By Patrick Marley

February 8, 2012- Madison – Rep. Robin Vos acknowledged Wednesday that talking points were created for him last year that told Republicans to ignore public comments on new election maps.

But Vos, one of the Assembly's top leaders, downplayed the memo's significance and said he simply told other Republicans they should not listen to Democrats on the issue – a claim that critics called implausible.

Vos said he did not know why the half-page memo was phrased the way it was. He also distanced himself from other parts of the memo.

The memo was prepared for one-on-one meetings Vos had with Assembly Republicans in June and July.

"Public comments on this map may be different than what you hear in this room. Ignore the public comments," the memo said.

Peter Earle, one of the attorneys suing over the new election maps, said the talking points showed Republicans planned to tell the public something different about the maps than what they were saying in private.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Two legislative aides working out of law firm office instead of Capitol

-By Patrick Marley

February 9, 2012- Madison – Two taxpayer-paid legislative aides who were responsible for drawing new election maps continue to work out of a law firm instead of the Capitol, even though lawmakers approved the maps six months ago.

Tad Ottman and Adam Foltz were responsible for drawing new district lines last year, and they did that work out of the Madison office of Michael Best & Friedrich, across the street from the Capitol. Those maps were approved in August, but they continue to work from there.

Foltz makes $50,000 a year and works from the law office most of the time. Ottman makes $79,236 a year; he declined to say how often he works at the law office. Taxpayers are paying their wages no matter which office they work from.

Meanwhile Thursday, Sen. Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn) took heat because his office twice told a constituent this week that Kedzie had not signed a confidentiality agreement regarding the new election maps. In fact, he had.

Tad Ottman and Adam Foltz – Creators of the Maps Making Public Comments

Tad Ottman and Adam Foltz, Republican aides who drew the redistricting maps testify at the public hearing in July. We recently found out that Adam Foltz wrote a secret talking points memo for Robin Vos telling Republican legislators to "ignore the public comments" about the maps. We also found out that Adam had almost all of the republican lawmakers sign non-disclosure agreements about every part of the map making process.

These two taxpayer aides actually work out of the office of the law firm hired to represent the Assembly Republicans even well after the drafting of the maps has been completed.
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Two legislative aides working out of law firm office instead of Capitol

Desperation: “We Are Firing Employees Who Signed Wisconsin Recall Petitions”

-Blogged by Anomaly at Freak Out Nation

February 12, 2012- With enthusiastic recall efforts for Governor Scott Walker (Koch-R) persevering, the desperation to keep the besieged union basher in office is increasing.

‘Floyd’ writes, “Stan, Thank you for writing and printing the manual on the legal way to fire someone who signed the recall petition. I had one employee who always showed up to work on-time, did his job well, passed his drug test, and worked well in a team environment. If knot for Section 3, paragraph A on page 5 of your manual; he would still be employed. Thanks Stan, I can now hire a conservative to replace him.”

The Brad Blog: Prosecutors May be Closing in on Walker as WI Gov Implicated In Criminal Complaint Against Aides

Recall may prove to be least of his worries…

-by Ernest A. Canning

February 13, 2012- A recall from his position as Wisconsin's governor could ultimately be the least of Gov. Scott Walker's worry, if a criminal complaint quietly moving forward in the Badger State court system continues on its current trajectory. At the moment, Walker seems to be at the bottom of a mountain where an avalanche is just beginning to roll.

A 51-page criminal complaint [PDF] (the "Rindfleisch complaint"), which formally charges Kelly M. Rindfleisch with four felony counts of misconduct in public office, contains factual allegations which implicate a number of individuals, listed as "interested parties," including WI's controversial Republican Governor, in a wide-reaching criminal conspiracy to misuse public employees and resources for partisan political gain.

The Rindfleish complaint was filed in the Milwaukee County Circuit Court on Jan. 26, 2012 by Milwaukee County District Attorney John T. Chisholm. It's the product of an ongoing criminal investigation (the "John Doe" investigation) of the Milwaukee County Executive Office during Walker's tenure as County Executive there. The complaint specifically involves the period during which Tim Russell and then Rindfleish served as Walker's Deputy Chiefs of Staff.

The recent news in the Milwaukee County case coincides with a separate set of court rulings in the battle over the attempt by opponents of Walker to see him recalled via the ballot box. In that matter, an appellate court recently reversed Republican Waukesha Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis' decision to deny the Recall proponent's motion to intervene in a case brought by "Friends of Scott Walker" designed to obstruct the scheduling of Walker's Recall. The appellate ruling directed Davis to vacate his controversial decision which had shifted the statutory burden for challenging the validity of the Walker Recall petition signatures from Walker himself — as had been the process for years — to the state's Government Accountability Board.

Minnesota 2020 Journal: The Fewer Rights Act

-By John Van Hecke

February 10, 2012– In the war of words, progressives are not doing well. Conservative activists hold the rhetorical upper hand, obfuscating their policies’ true intent and making community- stabilizing and family- strengthening achievements an up-hill slog. Why? Because we’re trying to refute their ideas with their language. In the struggle for definition, we’re not just behind, we’re somewhere between 30 and 50 years behind.

Witness HF65, the proposed Minnesota “right to work” constitutional amendment bill. It’s a case in point. This legislation undermines collective bargaining rights. It has nothing to do with work but everything to do with using the state’s power to take hard-won protections from workers. Yet, hearing the phrase “right to work” with only the words themselves for guidance, most people assume it’s a worker protection initiative.

It’s not.

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