Wednesday, October 28, 2015

GAB Director drops a truth bomb onto WisGOP

A couple of weeks back, General Accountability Board Director Kevin Kennedy testified in a public hearing on the WisGOP Legislature's bill designed to destroy the state's election oversight agency. This meeting featured Kennedy asking State Sen. Chris Kapenga (aka the Delafield Fumbass) "Have you no decency?", when Kapenga tried to play the "guilt by association" game when he asked what relationship Kennedy had with IRS official Lois Lerner.

(You know, the same Lois Lerner who was in charge of verifying the non-profit status of alleged "social welfare" organizations who seemed to spend all their time doing policial campaigning, and the same Lois Lerner who was cleared of all criminal wrongdoing last week.)

In that same hearing, State Sen. Leah Vukmir made a number of allegations of GAB incompetence and partisanship, using many a story that had been repeated in the right-wing Bubble World of talk radio and Bradley Foundation-funded websites. Well, Kennedy responded yesterday with an outstanding smackdown, taking the accusations of Vukmir (R-ALEC) head-on, and refuting them point-by-point. Here's a taste, with Kennedy's reponses in bold, and me putting extra emphasis in italics.
[Vukmir statement] Q: In continued pursuit of unrelenting ludicrousness, in December of 2011 the GAB ruled that “Mickey Mouse” is a valid signature on recall petitions if it is accompanied by a Wisconsin address. Mickey Mouse. From Disney World. A valid voter in the eyes of the Government Accountability Board.

A:The G.A.B. responded to concerns about potential recall signature fraud by building a recall database at a cost of more than $75,000 and actively searching for duplicate signatures and fake names. There was no roadmap for such an effort and it was an unprecedented investment of staff time and resources. Out of 930,000 signatures submitted on petitions to recall the governor, there were 4,001 duplications and four fictitious signatures (Adolf Hitler, Mick E. Mous, Donald L. Duck, and I Love Scott Walker Thanks) which were not counted. The G.A.B. struck another 26,109 signatures for other deficiencies.

State law dictates that the responsibility for challenging fake, duplicate and otherwise insufficient signatures from a recall petition belongs to the official being recalled, not the G.A.B. The Board initially declined Friends of Scott Walker’s demands to exceed the statutory requirements in examining the petitions. FOSW sued the G.A.B. in Waukesha County Circuit Court, where Judge Davis ordered the Board to create a database to find and eliminate duplicates. The Board complied with the order and created the database at considerable time and expense to taxpayers. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice appealed Judge Davis’ ruling, which the Wisconsin Court of Appeals overturned in early February 2012. Despite this vindication of the Board’s original position, the Board moved forward with creation of the recall database and checks for duplicate and fake names in the interest of transparency and public confidence in the recall petition review process.

Politifact Wisconsin recently examined this claim in the context of a Twitter message by Governor Walker and ruled it was false.
Kennedy also gives the exact same response to three separate Vukmir claims that the GAB didn't look into actions of certain unions that may have violated election laws during the recall elections of 2012.
The G.A.B. takes all complaints seriously. State law makes it illegal to release information about complaints and investigations unless the Board has referred a matter to a district attorney, filed a civil complaint, dismissed a complaint after an investigation or found no probable cause to investigate. A legislator’s lack of knowledge as to whether the Board has investigated a complaint does not mean the Board has not investigated it, and legislators and the public should be careful about speculation and false assumptions in such cases. Additional information regarding the Board’s handling of confidential complaints cannot be released unless the Legislature removes the criminal penalties for G.A.B. staff who disclose information regarding agency investigations.
In other words Sen. Vukmir, KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT BEFORE YOU SAY IT, YOU PATHETIC HACK! Here's a tip to the ALEC Queen, just because Char-lie Sykes and Icki relay words from their Koch/Bradley bosses, it doesn't mean any of them are telling the truth (most likely, they are not). But then again, when you're a typical weak-minded suburban Milwaukee Republican slimeball, I guess facts and truth are whatever you choose it to mean, instead of independent realities.

Or maybe there's some other reason beyond whiny, suburban weak-mindedness, and it goes back to Delafield Dumbass Kapenga's reference to Lois Lerner. Given that Sen. Vukmir is the National Chair of ALEC, and that ALEC is one of those fake non-profits that allow its corporate members to dodge taxes by claiming to be a "public charity," maybe defanging oversight of campaign donations serves a deeper purpose. It allows for even more dirty, corporate money to infect our politics, and hide the source of that money, which insulates corporations from public blowback that may result from using their profits to buy up such scummy politicians who pass such slanted, destructive legislation.

Oh wait, there's no maybe about it. That's EXACTLY what Vukmir and the rest of the ALEC crew (aka: pretty much every GOP in the State Assembly) is up to with this deform "reform" of the GAB.

These people are not worthy of decorum or respect in any walk of life, but especially if you believe in fair elections and public accountability. With that in mind, Kevin Kennedy has acted in the only appropriate way you can with these thugs- letting them have it with the facts, and not "looking nice" and watering down the criticism. More people in the public sector need to follow suit, not necessarily to change the minds of the GOPs who are trying to impose their power, but to expose to the public just how dishonest and power-mad these people truly are.

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