Monday, May 12, 2014

Your morning oligarch/ John Doe links

Been a busy weekend, but wanted to forward your attention to two excellent articles on John Doe, McCutcheon/ Citizens United , and their effect on Wisconsin campaign finance.

The first is from longtime Milwwaukee labor reporter Dom Noth, who notes that Federal Judge Rudolph Randa's partisan idiocy in trying to halt John Doe Deux may instead blow the whole thing wide open.
May 8 he fell into this carefully laid trap by the federal appeals panel, two of whom were appointed by GOP presidents and quite likely reflect the majority conservative view of the full 15 member court of appeals. He offhandedly agreed he had no right to order destruction of evidence and declared the original complaint frivolous, opening the door to broad investigation of whether it was frivolous.

Though lawyers for Club for Growth immediately crowed that this second Randa decision was extremely embarrassing for the prosecution and “a very good day for us and a very bad day for them,” the DAs involved laid low, perhaps chuckling. In fact they may be delighted to have their reasons for the probe put under a more public spotlight.

What Randa has unintentionally done is allow various groups of judges, state and federal, to hear testimony and information about why the pursuit is not frivolous and why prosecutors are allowed to gather evidence under previously granted legitimate court authority – something no judge has the right to throw into the river.

I’m simply an observer, not a lawyer, but it could be the expensive team assembled by Club for Growth has now misfired twice. First, by letting the case into federal court, where any approval allows the investigators to spread out into jurisdictions denied them as state prosecutors. And second in allowing many judges in court sessions to hear the reasons why their right to search is inviolate and whether the evidence for the search is frivolous or not. Which, of course, also allows the public and journalists to get deeper clues into the reasons for the investigation free of the partisan reporting and taints that have surrounded the John Doe from the start.
Also interesting to me is that while Randa rants about the "First Amendment", he never orders the laws against campaign coordination to be illegal. Maybe he's counting on the Supreme Court to do that dirty work, but because the whole issue of illegal coordination is linked into these Koch groups and others ducking taxes and disclosure by being "social welfare" organizations, you've got a very different set of issues as opposed to how much money can be spent in an election.

Speaking of money and elections, that's what the Root River Siren was writing about. The Wisconsin Department of Justice quietly decided to remove campaign donation limits last week in the wake of McCutcheon and other federal court decisions. In doing so, they went along with the wishes of Fred Young Junior, the son of a former Racine "job creator" (it's always second-generation money that's the worst). And the Siren uses her local knowledge and background to remind you what a scumbag this oligarch is.
Now, rich guys like Fred Young can give to as many candidates as they want, in as many races as they want - even if those candidates are hundreds of miles from where they live. They can also give as much as they want to PACS and issue organizations - even if they create them themselves - and they will.

Democracy is saved.

Fred Young didn't want to spend his money on employing people in Racine - in fact, he made millions by firing them. He even fired over a hundred workers just before selling his company to make it look more attractive to potential buyers and squeezing out a few more million from what his father had created.

Fred Young wants the kind of democracy he and a few of his friends can purchase, because that is what freedom looks like to him. If YOU can't afford that kind of freedom - well, that's your problem.
Ypu just wonder when the tipping point hits in Wisconsin, and people finally demand an end to the "old money and old boys club" from trying to use their (often inherited and ill-gotten) fortunes from running roughshod over the rest of us.

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