Saturday, June 16, 2012

Racine recount is Walker pay-to-play in full effect

When I read the flimsiness of the complaint of "voter irregularities" in Racine during the recall election, my BS radar went off. And not just because of the lameness and sketchiness of the complaint. Basically, some guy took in a bag of voter materials that he said he found in a dumpster near the Cesar Chavez Community Center. The Racine County D-A's office refuses to say who the guy is, but given that a bunch of Texasses were flown in to Wisconsin for voter suppression reasons, one of those guys would be a good first guess.

But my first instinct was to see who the Racine County D-A was and how he got the job. I didn't have to look too far back, because it turns out Rich Chiapete was appointed by Governor Walker to the job 3 months ago, right as the recall election campaign was heating up, which sure makes you wonder what kind of deal was made as part of that appointment.

And then One Wisconsin Now did a quick check of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's website, and noted that Chiapete's wife Jennifer gave $100 to recount-requestor Van Wangaard's campaign last November. In addition, Racine County Sherriff Chris Schmaling gave $100 to Chris Wright, who ran for State Assembly against Cory Mason in 2010, and the Schmaling family has also given to Robin Vos and other GOP candidates in the past. As Badger Democracy's Scott Wittkopf points out, Schmaling has followed the sell-it-off philosophy of Vos and company since taking over at the RCSD.
[Schmaling] is a staunch GOP supporter, and proponent of privatization of County services. On his own campaign website, Robin Vos (R-Rochester) uses Schmaling’s department as an example of how Act 10 is “working”:

“This week, Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling told me the county can now outsource food service for their jail. The result is big savings for taxpayers and will help in the crime fighting efforts in our area. The change from doing the food service internally to outsourcing it to a company named Aramark…”

Aramark has faced repeated criticism on cost, service, product, and treatment of employees. The company was virtually forced to end its contract with Florida Department of Corrections following numerous fines for contract violations. Racine residents should keep a close eye on the real costs to taxpayers associated with this contract.
So the Racine County Sheriff's and D-A's office is obvious connection Number 1.

And then Scott Wittkopf at Badger Democracy takes us to obvious connection Number 2- the guy that Chiapete replaced as Racine County D-A, Mike Nieskes.
The appointment of Chiapete came after Walker named then-DA Mike Nieskes to a vacant Circuit Court Judgeship (more on that in a bit). Chiapete will not face an election until January 2013, and was the only applicant to the vacancy. Staff in the DA’s office informed Badger Democracy today that Nieskes was instrumental in securing the position for Chiapete internally....

...Nieskes left his position to accept a Circuit Court Judgeship after being appointed by – you guessed it – Governor Scott Walker in December, 2011. Nieskes has been DA since 2005, after running unopposed. Prior to that, he was acting DA after the embattled Lennie Weber stepped down in 1993 to serve on the State Gaming Board (Weber was a Tommy Thompson nominee). Weber resigned the gaming board amidst scandal in 1994. While serving in a supposed “non-partisan” office, Nieske donated to Scott Walker in 2010, Bill McReynolds in 2006, and Reince Priebus in 2004.
GOP backscratching corruption runs deep with this crowd, doesn't it? Obvious connection Number 2.

And now the real reason for this recount. WisGOP doesn't believe that they can win, and One Wisconsin Now's own report shows that new registrations in the City of Racine matches the number of new voters, so no issues there (and none that would be solved with voter ID, either). But what it does do is give a whole lot of time for race-baiting talk show hosts on 620 and 1130 to bring up the non-existent issue of "voter fraud" again, and play on the fears of the racists and shut-ins that listen to that crap.

This is all done with a wink and a nod from the Walker Administration and WisGOP, proving once again that they are not serious when they talk about trying to work with Democrats on coming up with "bipartisan" policies that help this state. These scumbags aren't going to back down, and it's up to us to not do the same. We need to remember that numerous exit polls show a sizable portion of people voted for Walker on June 5 not because of agreement with his policies, but because they fell for the propaganda that a recall was unnecessary, and therefore Scotty didn't deserve to lose his job before his term was up.

The voters know in their hearts that WisGOP is wrong, and just because they didn't pull the trigger on their careers doesn't mean they started to believe that "it's working." (a majority know it's not) It's time to push back harder on all of these racist, political games that WisGOP plays, and send the message loud and clear that these people are corrupt, and do not care about improving our democracy, or the quality of life in our state. If so, this is one main area where Wisconsin progressives and the DPW can go with Fall 2012 campaign, making the message clear that they will not pull these shenanigans, and will restore dignity and decency to Wisconsin politics.

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