Saturday, April 30, 2016

Walker's whining and Schimel's lawsuits gives away the game for ALEC-GOP

You can usually tell when Scott Walker is losing the rhetorical battle on an issue when he starts complaining about his opponents and/or the media for one of his administration’s scummy actions being brought to light. This happened again this week after the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) voted 4-2 to ask for the release in $250,000 in supplemental funds to go towards a media campaign to educate Wisconsin citizens on the state’s new voter ID procedures.

Instead of shrugging and letting the procedure go with a non-statement, Walker acted like an abusive husband, and blamed the supporters of the people having their voting rights impeded.
“The fact is, the State had to spend a whole lot of time and money defending the law, and we continue to do so today. If people were really serious about that, they wouldn’t have allowed the State to use all that money to fight courts and to use that in promoting the system.”
There is SOOOO much fail in that statement from Scotty.

Let’s start with the fact that the $250,000 being requested, doesn’t take one dime away from the state’s abilities to defend the laws or carry out any other services. That money has already been budgeted and set aside (that’s why it’s called a “supplemental”, Scotty), and isn’t designated to go anywhere else but to an education campaign on voter ID. Releasing these funds wouldn’t change anything when it comes to the state’s ability to pay for needs…unless Walker never intended to pay the “voter ID education” money at all and instead wanted to fill in a budget hole by not spending it.

The head of the GAB rightly called out Walker's line of bullshit.
"That’s really a very disingenuous comment," said [GAB Director Kevin] Kennedy. "I mean, this was a very politically charged decision in the Legislature. Not everyone supports it. And people were challenging the right. That’s like apples and oranges."

Kennedy said that the money would be used to restart the "Bring It To The Ballot" campaign designed back in 2011 and used briefly in 2012 and 2014. Part of the campaign, said Kennedy, would direct voters to a state website, and advertise the toll-free number for those who don’t have Internet access.
“Disingenuous” is putting it kindly, Kevin. What Walker and the WisGOP proponents of voter ID have done over the last 3 weeks is prove that they view it not as a good government measure to increase integrity of the vote, but as a tactic to increase their chances of winning elections. In fact, one of those lawsuits that Walker alluded to shows that WisGOP knows “Wisconsin voter fraud” is a lie.

Go back to 2014, when this case was being argued in a Wisconsin federal court. At that time, voter ID was thrown out, and in the decision, Federal Judge Lynn Adelman said the GOP-run Department of Justice admitted in federal court in 2014 that it “could not point to a single instance of known voter impersonation occurring in Wisconsin at any time in the recent past."

This admission didn’t stop voter ID from being Ok’d by an Appeals Court, claiming that it was similar to another OK’d voter ID law in Indiana, and despite being delayed until after the 2014 elections, the US Supreme Court refused to hear the case, letting voter ID stand. But once voter ID was in place for the Wisconsin presidential primary on April 5, numerous stories and instances of people not being allowed their right to vote were reported. This, along with long lines and multiple hoops to jump through, have shown that voter ID causes excessive burdens on specific demographics….most of whom just happen to favor Democrats. That evidence, along with the public statements of former GOP staffer Todd Allbaugh that WisGOP legislators were “giddy” about using voter ID to suppress certain votes and increase their chances of winning, should be sufficient to show that this law is intended to injure certain groups over others. That case goes to trial next month, with the new evidence in tow.

You can bet the Walker Administration and AG Brad Schimel will be using taxpayer dollars to try to keep the voter ID laws on the books, and that leads to the other reason Walker’s statement is so disgusting. Voter ID is far from the only example of taxpayer money the Walker/Schimel folks are spending to defend and promote the Koch/ALEC agenda. Schimel has joined other Koch/ALEC states in suing against the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, in filing suit to force welfare recipients to be drug-tested before receiving benefits, and recently joined other states in filing suit to relax federal ozone and other air quality standards. Schimel has also vowed to use state resources to appeal the recent ruling in a Dane County court that the state’s “right-to-work” (for less) law was unconstitutional.

But that’s not all, as State Rep. Chris Taylor pointed out this week that Schimel created a new Solicitor General position whose main (taxpayer-funded) job seems to be to work in conjunction with the Kochs and ALEC to try to override rules from the Obama Administration.
The reason [for having a Solicitor General] is this: It’s no secret that Wisconsin has become a laboratory for American Legislative Exchange Council policies. ALEC is the conservative group that drafts model state-level legislation. It’s now the solicitor general’s job to pursue these policies in court, even if Wisconsin isn’t involved in the case or if the case is one certain to be lost.

In fact, during budget deliberations on the Joint Finance Committee, I explicitly asked if the function of the solicitor general’s office would be to sue the federal government — and the answer was yes.
Rep. Taylor adds that the Wisconsin DOJ won’t even detail the costs of these many lawsuits against the Feds, which is why Walker’s crocodile tears of “I don’t want to release $250,000 for voter ID education because of we’ve spent so much in lawsuits” is such garbage. If cost of these lawsuits is such a concern to the Walkers and Schimels of the world, why the hell are they filing suits every chance they get, and why aren’t they willing to release the cost of these suits to the public? At the poker table, that’s known as a “tell,” and it shows that both the Governor’s Office and the AG’s office don’t give a damn about fairness or integrity of the law, but want to rig things for them and their puppetmasters any way they can.

Regardless of Scott Walker’s whining, it does appear that the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee will take up the topic of releasing these funds for voter ID education next month. But let’s not let this issue of voter suppression drop, and let’s bring WisGOP’s foot-dragging and litigious nature to the forefront for people to see. Because there is nothing conservative about limiting the sacred right to vote, or in abusing taxpayer money and the power of the government to help your campaign contributors.

For that mentality, an F word comes more to mind…

1 comment:

  1. The Solicitor General office was put into the 2015-17 budget at Brad Schimel's request. Last Oct. 8th he named Misha Tseytlin to head the office, who had been deeply involved in West Virginia AG's office in taking the lead in filing the multi-state lawsuit against the EPA Clean Power Plan ( Tseytlin has become a star among the conservative movement ( at "taking on the Feds."

    As you have described, the Walker WisGOP regime have been very litigious crew, which follows a trend nationally following the rise of the Tea Party. Wisconsin AG's have entered into this, part of what has been identified as a "Rule of Law" campaign run through the Republican Attorneys General Association, with dark funding through its associated Rule of Law Defense Fund (see

    The Koch interests are all involved, and David Rivkin -- leader of the assault against the John Doe II probe -- has played a leading part in this thing, also serving as coordinator of GOP state AG offices in lawsuits on the federal government. The "federalism" they represent is nothing but "state's rights," as interpreted by the Federalist Society and pushed by the likes of ALEC and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.