Tuesday, May 24, 2022

How RoJo gets paid off, and pays his donors back

Remember this story from last August about Wisconsin's senior US Senator?

[US Sen. Ron] Johnson’s demand was simple: In exchange for his vote, the bill must sweeten the tax break for a class of companies that are known as pass-throughs, since profits pass through to their owners. Johnson praised such companies as “engines of innovation.” Behind the scenes, the senator pressed top Treasury Department officials on the issue, emails and the officials’ calendars show.

Within two weeks, Johnson’s ultimatum produced results. Trump personally called the senator to beg for his support, and the bill’s authors fattened the tax cut for these businesses. Johnson flipped to a “yes” and claimed credit for the change. The bill passed....

Confidential tax records, however, reveal that Johnson’s last-minute maneuver benefited two families more than almost any others in the country — both worth billions and both among the senator’s biggest donors.

Dick and Liz Uihlein of packaging giant Uline, along with roofing magnate Diane Hendricks, together had contributed around $20 million to groups backing Johnson’s 2016 reelection campaign.

The expanded tax break Johnson muscled through netted them $215 million in deductions in 2018 alone, drastically reducing the income they owed taxes on. At that rate, the cut could deliver more than half a billion in tax savings for Hendricks and the Uihleins over its eight-year life.
And we found out today that RoJo is getting another kickback from these oligarchs in the hopes he can stay in office after 2022.

And let's not forget RoJo's other big national booster in 2016, and the arrangement he worked out with them.

Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that the National Rifle Association (NRA) violated federal law by using a common vendor to coordinate illegally with four U.S. Senate campaigns.

Campaign finance law prohibits coordination between candidates and outside groups like the NRA. In order to preserve their independence, FEC rules limit how a vendor may work for both a candidate and an outside group supporting that candidate. Politico Magazine reported, however, that a consulting firm set up a shell corporation for the apparent purpose of helping the NRA evade these rules...

“There is substantial evidence that the NRA funneled millions through a shell corporation to unlawfully coordinate with candidates it was backing,” said Brendan Fischer, director, federal reform at CLC. “The NRA using inside information about a candidate’s strategy to create ‘independent’ ads supporting him creates an unfair advantage, and it violates the law. According to the Supreme Court, groups like the NRA can only make unlimited expenditures if they are independent of the candidates they support, and it falls to the FEC to enforce the laws that preserve that independence and prevent corruption.”

Politico uncovered that the directors at OnMessage – a powerhouse GOP consulting firm – created a shell corporation called Starboard, located at the same address, and which appears indistinguishable from its parent company. The NRA’s lobbying arm and PAC contracted with Starboard to create ads supporting U.S. Senate candidates Tom Cotton, Cory Gardner, and Thom Tillis in 2014, and Ron Johnson in 2016; those candidates, in turn, hired OnMessage. The NRA, which is effectively Starboard’s only client, consistently listed Starboard’s address as that of OnMessage, and OnMessage has repeatedly taken credit for advertisements that the NRA paid Starboard to produce.
And this is why RoJo and other GOPs will go out of their way to block attempts to tighten up our absurd gun laws after yet another horrific mass murder, this time at a Texas elementary school. And they will ignore the overwhelming majority of Americans in the process, because they only care about the dirty NRA dollars and the small group of gun nuts who have an outsized influence in Republicans primaries.

And don't forget how relaxed our gun laws have become on the state level, and the real reason why that is.

If that amoral scumbag was still our Governor, we'd have students being able to carry guns on school grounds today. Thank God he is not.

This only changes when we vote out more GOP crooks beyond Scott Walker this November. Or else the senseless mass killings and oligarchy will continue, and this state and this country will continue to spiral downward.

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