Thursday, September 15, 2016

John Doe, open records proves Harsdorf, Olsen crooked, unfit for office

In today’s installment of “follow the money”, the Cap Times’s Jessie Opien and Katelyn Ferral followed up on the revelation near the end of The Guardian’s blockbuster John Doe article that mentioned lead paint producer Harold Simmons gave big money to the Wisconsin Club for Growth in the Summer of 2011. Simmons’ donations were then rewarded when the Wisconsin GOP-run Legislature voted to give immunity to lead paint makers against lawsuits from people sickened by that lead paint, and it was done in WisGOP’s now-typical backroom, non-transparent fashion.
That provision was part of the 2013-15 budget's "999 motion," a document that is traditionally full of wish-list items for legislators and special interests and often introduced and passed in the middle of the night or early in the morning.

Simmons made three donations to the Wisconsin Club for Growth totaling $750,000 during the period during which Republicans including Walker, Olsen and Harsdorf faced recall elections….
And Olsen and Harsdorf were on the Joint Finance Committee and voted for that 999 motion in Summer 2013, just like they were 2 years later when they voted to gut Wisconsin’s Open Records law in another 999 motion - a move so heinous that the changes were withdrawn 3 days laterafter GOP legislators faced a torrent of anger from voters during the 4th of July weekend.

And much like they did after the Open Records debacle, Olsen and Harsdorf ducked the responsibility of their 2013 lead paint vote and the benefit they received from the pay-to-play scumminess.
Olsen, currently in the midst of a re-election campaign, disputed {Dem Senate leader Jennifer] Shilling's "pay-to-play" allegation.

"I think that's quite a jump," he said. "I voted for something in the budget and somebody else got some money ... that's not pay-to-play."

A Harsdorf aide did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
These are disqualifying actions for Harsdorf and Olsen regardless of how you slice it. If Luther and Sheila legitimately didn’t know about Wisconsin Club for Growth’s millions of dollars of help that they got in their 2011 recalls, or thought CfG was putting up all of that money out of the goodness of their hearts, they are so oblivious that they must be fired for incompetence.

Dumb or crooked?

But more likely, both Harsdorf (26 years in the Legislature) and Olsen (22 years) know as well as anyone how the pay-for-play game is done, and they’ve willingly voted for practically every awful Walker/WisGOP provision that has passed in this 5 ½ year Reign of Error. In fact, I’ve heard pretty strong rumors about what Harsdorf wants to do to UW-River Falls and UW-Stout (both in her district) in the next budget, if she gets the chance. The plans involve more deforming “innovation” of those smaller UW schools, much like the wreckage seen in the great documentary “Starving the Beast” (which starts tomorrow at Sundance Madison, by the way).

These GOP Senators just have such a low opinion of their constituents that they think they can pull off the “I didn’t know what I was voting on” game. Well it’s time for their bluff to be called, both Harsdorf and Olsen can be taken out of their cushy long-time seats this November, and they’re in districts that are winnable for Dems, with Dem candidates that campaign leadership seemed to be high on when I saw them this week. Diane Odeen is taking on Harsdorf up in the Twin Cities exurbs and other areas near the St. Croix River, and Waupaca Mayor Brian Smith is challenging Olsen in South Central Wisconsin in a district that reaches all the way down to northern Dane County.

Feel free to give those candidates a boost, and while Scott Walker can’t be voted out for his pay-to-play corruption in John Doe this November, Sheila Harsdorf and Luther Olsen can and should pay a price for their role. After all, they let the oligarchs speak for them in their recall campaigns, and then allowed the corruption of Wisconsin government to flourish, letting the quality of life in this state decline. Don’t let them get away with it.

1 comment:

  1. Senator Harsdorf was very vocal against career politicians at many live speaking events. Never did explain how her 26 years was not that of a career politician.

    Harsdorf is interesting to me. The supposedly small family farm girl gone to Madison. There is not much press attention given to her relatives political careers, or that of friends. Never mind any press exploration into tax breaks or straight giveaways into a lot of things that directly benefit the small family farm that Harsdorf supposedly comes from. (Wisconsin Farm Bureau?)
    And let's not ask why the Harsdorf district may as well be a MN Twin Cities suburb all around.

    Enough of my soapbox.

    What I really want to know is why Adam Jarchow is constantly hanging out with Sheila Harsdorf in almost all public events lately?

    What is Jarchow up to in his assembly district and in others?