Friday, February 10, 2006

Jackasses and Independent Expenditures


The Democrats are hyperventilating about Mark Green and his staff! Xoff exposes the non-story that Green staffers had some involvement in Republican independent expenditure organizations in the 1990's. Whoa, that is big news. Xoff then makes the leap that Mark Green, as caucus chair, must have known about the work of the "caucus." The only problem with that theory is that the caucus chair simply runs the gatherings of his colleagues, and has nothing to do with the entirely separate organization of staff called the Assembly Republican Caucus. Oops, well lets not let the facts get in the way of some good Democratic hyperventilation.

The ironic thing about Xoff's blustering is that he's just not thinking this one through. The Chvala indictment and recent John Doe interviews from Assembly Democrats demonstrate that both Dem caucuses broke the law and ran their independent expenditure organizations right out of their leaders' offices. They were clumsy bumblers in their conspiracy to engage in the "independent" expenditure business. The problem is that they same people running those groups were running the campaigns of Assembly Democrats all across the state. That's called illegal coordination, and even weak-kneed folks at the state elections board would call their behavior criminal.

Assembly Republican staff, on the other hand, actually created groups to support the GOP cause independently and outside of the control of their leadership. Rongstad's Teddy Roosevelt Fund and its successors spent aggressively and were successful (as Bjork, Judge et al note in their testimony), but they did it all outside the line of the oversight, control, knowledge of Scott Jensen or anyone else. BECAUSE IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ILLEGAL TO DO IT ANY OTHER WAY! Jensen wasn't charged with coordination, because he did not coordinate or control independent groups, as the John Doe testimony will show. But Doyle and Xoff's crowd, Gussert-Burnett-Bjork-Krug-Richards-Chvala-Judge and many others, ignored the coordination rules and ran their I.E. campaigns from the same taxpayer-supported offices from which they ran their targeted campaigns.

As the Journal Sentinel reporter on this story discovered, the Assembly Republicans are the clean ones in the independent expenditure business. Which is why there was no real story. It's also one more reason to question Blanchard's decision to go after Jensen instead of Krug. Turns out that Shirley and her team broke even more laws than did the evil Republicans. Xoff should quietly drop this one, the evidence proves that the Democrats are the bad guys in the independent expenditure story. Just take a deep breath, Brother Bill, and quietly walk away from this one. I won't even demand an apology or take you off my Link list.

But if your team's crooks eventually need some company, Xoff, you might want to look into Bob Welch and his I.E. role with Senate Republicans. But I suppose it would just be wiser to shut up about this one, and move on to your next Green-Walker investigation.

Comments:
The TR stuff was tangential. What about the main thrust -- that Green's chief of staff clearly participated in illegal caucus activity?
 
Buy me a beer some day and I'll explain. But the questionable stuff simply was not in either of their domains.
 
The Dems just can't seem to grasp that they had virtually a monopoly on the IE scam in the Cap.
 
So the excerpt below from State v Jensen, et al isn't coordination between GOP legislators & IE's, "Ragnar"?


During summer and fall 2000, Kratochwill accompanied Jensen to three to five meetings at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) in Madison with "the four horsemen": lobbyists from the Farm Bureau, the Wisconsin Builders Association, the Wisconsin Realtors Association, and WMC itself. ... Jensen indicated where money from lobbyists' clients would be the most helpful, and suggested whether lobbyists should be giving money directly to campaigns or as independent expenditures. At these meetings, Kratochwill reported on ... what the issues were in the campaigns, and what the polls were saying. Lobbyists talked about potential commitments. ... In learning that lobbyists planned to spend on a particular race, Jensen and Kratochwill could determine how limited RACC funds could be focused on other races. The meetings were in part to help Jensen, with input from Kratochwill, prioritize Assembly Republican spending.

From State v Jensen, Foti, Schultz, Ladwig criminal complaint
 
No, it isn't. Jensen briefed them on the races and they used the information to make their own decisions. He never directed them, and they didn't detail their plans to him. No amount of Kratochwill puffery will make these briefings approach the i.e. criminality engaged in by Shirley and Chuck.
 
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