Rep. Vos e-mail reveals Koch Industry lobbyists authored policy-pushing Milwaukee “Initiative”, now to be implemented statewide

An email obtained by Badger Democracy through Open Records Request  from Assembly Representative Robin Vos reveals the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s signature  “Make It Your Milwaukee County Initiative” was actually written by Smart Government, Inc., a group with direct lobbyist ties to Koch Industries Lobby, LLC.

On May 6, 2011 Badger Democracy submitted an open records request to Rep. Robin Vos for communications regarding lobbyist activity. On May 25, documents pertaining to the request were picked up at the Assembly Chief Clerk’s office. One of the emails is from Kathleen Walby, an attorney at Foley&Lardner in Madison. Walby is also a lobbyist with Smart Government, Inc. (The lobbying arm of the Greater Milwaukee Committee) in Milwaukee. During a highly publicized annual meeting, the “Make It Your Milwaukee County” Initiative was unveiled in February of 2011 by the Greater Milwaukee Committee. The GMC has heralded this initiative as a co-operative effort between public and private interests, and a “reasonable” course for saving the fiscally challenged Milwaukee County. The email to Robin Vos’ office, though only two sentences and one link long, speaks volumes as to the source and agenda of the “initiative.”

Smart Government, Inc., (SGI) as reported in previous blogs, is the lobbying arm of the Greater Milwaukee Committee. Three of the four lobbyists employed by SGI (Ray Carey, Jason Childress, and Kathleen Walby) are attorneys at Foley&Lardner in Madison, and are employed as lobbyists by Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC in Madison. The influence of Koch money and agenda in Wisconsin recently cannot be overstated. This brief email proves the corresponding agenda being pushed through this “Initiative” of The Greater Milwaukee Committee is inexorably linked to these lobbyists and their corporatic interests. The trail begins with the American Legislative Exchange Council.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been drafting “model legislation” for use by ultra-conservative legislators in semi-secret for decades. Although legislators like Robin Vos (current state ALEC “chair”) pay a modest fee for membership, a vast majority of ALEC’s operating funds come from corporate “grants” to this “non-profit educational” foundation. One of the largest contributors and influences in ALEC is Koch Industries.  In December, 2010, ALEC released a “Budget Toolkit” for it’s legislative members. This “toolkit” created an agenda now being pushed in every Republican-controlled state in the nation, and cites biased, non-peer reviewed, ALEC-commissioned studies as rationale for radical legislative actions. It also includes recommendations for “model legislation” to combat the immenent fiscal disaster that surely awaits the United States. In essence, this “toolkit” takes advantage of the recent financial crisis. It promotes a corporatic agenda to legislators, more than willing to partake in the endless stream of campaign funds available from ALEC sponsors.

The “Make It Your Milwaukee County Initiative” released in February, 2011, cites three specific intiatives that mimic the policies presented in ALEC’s “toolkit.” In essence, this initiative is (using their own words) Smart Government Inc./Greater Milwaukee Committee’s “toolkit” for Wisconsin:

Initiative 1:

  • Develop a statewide fiscal stress test through the State Department of Revenue to help local governments maintain fiscal health.
  • Provide local governments with greater flexibility by ensuring that as labor contracts are crafted, they account for a broader range of considerations, including the fiscal challenges facing municipalities and counties.
  • Consolidate Milwaukee County’s health care and pension plans into the state’s plans. Isolate the existing Milwaukee County legacy pension costs in a “lockbox” separate from the state’s plan.
  • Reform the County’s mental health services for better outcomes, better quality of life and maximizing Medicaid reimbursement. Accomplish this by shifting from institutional models of care, focused on in-patient and crisis care, to a community care model that helps consumers maintain health and independence.

 Corresponding ALEC policies can be found in the ALEC “Budget Toolkit” link above – “Fiscal Stress Tests” and “Transparency” language are discussed in Section III, page 20 (also noted in previous Badger Democracy blogs); Health Service policies, Labor Contracts, and Consolidation in Section IV C, J  pages 24, 29(esp. Privatization section).

Initiative 2 :

  • Significantly reduce the number of supervisory districts to reflect the reduced function and budget of the County. Ensure through redistricting that the new Supervisory districts reflect the diversity of Milwaukee County.
  • Institute an elected Comptroller position by redefining the role of the County Treasurer to reflect the responsibilities and power of the City Elected Comptroller role.
  • Develop and implement pension savings strategies to complement statewide legislation including implementing a defined contribution plan for new employees, requiring an employee contribution, reducing the multiplier and/or raising the retirement age for existing employees. 
  • Bring retiree health care expenditures in line with national and state standards, including crafting health care options that incentivize both active and retired employees to select plans that will reduce the county’s health care costs.  

 The corresponding ALEC policies can be found in ALEC’s budget toolkit (link above) in section IV, page 23-24 (pension, health care policies); page 28-29 (comptroller replacing Treasurer); Walker has long advocated reducing or even eliminating the County Board and redistricting.

Initiative 3:

  • Spin-off the transit system to the Regional Transit Authority and include the airport.
  • Establish a parks and county-owned cultural assets district governed by an independent, elected district board and funded with a dedicated share of property tax.
  • Partner with municipalities to merge services where there is overlap (e.g., parks security, snow plowing, etc.). The state would assume additional Health and Human service functions.
  • Develop a master plan for County assets. Use the proceeds from the sale or lease of any county assets to pay down pension or other health care liabilities or general obligation debt.

Corresponding ALEC “Budget Toolkit” section IV  J,K,L on pages 29-37. This section encourages privatization, consolidation, and sale of municipal assets to raise funds to support privatized contracts.

Based on this simple email from Smart Government Inc/Koch Industries lobbyist and Foley&Lardner attorney Kathleen Walby, it is abundantly clear the influence of ALEC on the “Make It Your Milwaukee County” initiative. Nowhere in the public domain has “Make It Your Milwaukee County” been referred to as “Smart Government’s…initiative.” Released late in 2010, the ALEC “Budget Toolkit” was used as a template by SGI lobbyists to draft the “Make It Your Milwaukee County” initiative released in early 2011. To the public, this initiative has been presented as a cooperative effort by the Greater Milwaukee Committee. In reality, the Greater Milwaukee Committee has footed the bill and supported with open arms the Koch/ALEC agenda to be written by it’s Smart Government, Inc. lobby. Thanks to ALEC affiliated legislators like Vos and Darling, the agenda is now being pushed throughout the state. Mary Panzer, former Republican legislative leader, is also an ALEC alum and Smart Government Inc lobbyist (as of April 2011). The initiative is also being given a “locally driven” image, thanks to Smart Government Inc and the Greater Milwaukee Committee.

No more. The true nature of this initiative is public, and it is more of the corporatic agenda being driven at a national level. Welcome to the Wisconsin “Shock Doctrine.” These policy-pushing corporatists are taking advantage of the recent financial crisis to attempt systematic destruction of Progressive Wisconsin. Naomi Klein (“The Shock Doctrine”) names the three hallmarks of this type of “disaster capitalism” – privatization, government deregulation, and deep cuts to social spending. Sound familiar? It is no coincidence the parties pushing these policies have been warning of economic doom. No coincidence the policies listed above accomplish all three of the required hallmarks of corporatist agenda. No coincidence Kathleen Walby referred to the “Make It Your Milwaukee County Initiative” as Smart Government’s. They own it, along with Koch Industries and all the other Corporatists looking to plunder Wisconsin’s resources for their own profit. Spread the word – don’t believe the lie. We are not broke. We need to be progressive now more than ever to preserve and save the middle class in Wisconsin and America.  

 Postscript: For the record, Robin Vos, Kathleen Walby, Brian Schupper, and The Greater Milwaukee Committee were contacted for comment on record. All refused or did not respond.

 

 

 

Greater Milwaukee Committee fingerprints, Walker influence all over new Assembly Municipal Governance Bills

On May 17, 2011 Assembly Bills 138 , 139, and 140 were introduced out of the Special Committee on Local Service Consolidation, and into the Joint Committee on Urban and Rural Affairs. These bills effect the relationship between municipalities and the state, and will encourage the consolidation not only of services, but entire local governments. As bdgrdemocracy has reported in previous blogs, radical change is coming in this type of legislation. These three bills will likely begin installing the supporting “tools” the Governor and the DOA will need to classify municipalities as “insolvent,” or in “financial crisis” using fiscal “stress tests.”  The influence of The Greater Milwaukee Committee and The Public Policy Forum are highly evident in these bills, and should serve as red flags to anyone engaged in the preservation of Democracy.

Assembly Bill 138 (see link above) repeals the requirement set forth beginning in 2010, that municipalities may not spend less on Emergency Services than they did in 2009; thereby allowing municipalities to cut emergency services to meet state revenue shortfalls. AB 139 (link above) creates a loan process regulated by the DOA for study or implementing consolidation of “governmental units’ ” (cities, villages, counties, school districts) services or even consolidating with other governmental units. This bill could lead to consolidation of villages and cities, further centralizing power to the state and out of strong municipalities. AB 140 (link above) lifts the levy restriction on governmental units that implement consolidation of services or units; actually creating financial incentive to consolidate – again impacting the existence of strong, independent local governments as a balance of power to the state. The evolution of these bills begins in the Special Committee on Local Service Consolidation, originally formed to study the effects of service consolidation within municipalites, and how it relates to current fiscal challenges. The current form of the bills (now in committee) displays the influence of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, supporting the agenda of Scott Walker.

The Special Committee on Local Service Consolidation was formed by the Joint Legislative Council in July, 2010 and met for the first time in August, 2010. The stated purpose in the opening minutes by Chair Zepnick – to study the “relationship between state and local governments,” particularly service consolidation issues facing the city and county of Milwaukee. The membership of the committee comprised legislators (Zepnick, Gottlieb, Stone, and Pocan) and private citizens. Of the private citizens invited to participate in the committee, several submitted testimony which cast doubt as to the effectiveness of privatization in service delivery, including Chuck Law, Alan Probst, and Steven Deller, from the University of Wisconsin. One study they presented found privatized services to be lacking in accountability and cost-effectiveness, especially in small rural areas (the study was conducted in New Hampshire). Other studies cited supported similar conclusions – little savings actually occurs in privatization (if any), and the quality of service is questionable based on lack of public accountability.

Three of the presentations in the first meeting came from Ron Henken, President of the Public Policy Forum. Earlier in January of 2010, the Public Policy Forum released it’s study commissioned by the Greater Milwaukee Committee “Should it Stay or Should it Go” . The study’s purpose, as stated in the opening remarks, was to examine the elimination of Milwaukee County Government. The idea was supported fully by then County Executive Walker, as revealed here in previous blogs. Examination of subsequent minutes and testimony shows this research from the Public Policy Forum, funded by the Greater Milwaukee Committee, set the tone and agenda of this special committee as the bill was drafted. It is apparent the agenda of the Greater Milwaukee Committee is about to be practiced throughout the state of Wisconsin – not just Milwaukee County. Although the initial intent of the Committee was examination of service consolidation as it relates to fiscal management, the evolution of legislation coming out of its activity reflects the influence the GMC plays in state government and legislation. The initial discussion and presentation in the bi-partisan committee during August presented a balance of opinion. After the November election of Scott Walker, the testimony to the committee centered on consolidation policies supported by the Greater Milwaukee Committee through the Public Policy Institute. All this occurred in a Special Committee without public input or oversight. The individual bills taken out of context seem rather mundane – taken in the context of potential “financial stress test” legislation, and state power centralization away from local governments, the bills present several red flags.

A conversation with a Zepnick staff member attending all the Special Committee meetings confirms the change in tone of the committee, post Walker election. He confirms the validity of questioning the scope of these bills coming out of committee, and states that Representative Zepnick will evaluate the context and nature of the bills when they come out of committee before supporting them.

The connection between the agenda of the Greater Milwaukee Committee through Public Policy Forum research (commissioned by the GMC), and the agenda of Governor Walker encouraging consolidation and privatization is unmistakable. These bills are harbingers of additional “tools” necessary for Scott Walker to centralize and consolidate power to his office. The attempt to end collective bargaining rights was the first step and lynchpin of this agenda. The second step is the ability of the Governor and DOA to establish at-will regulations to ease corporate access to resources and municipalities. Third step – weaken municipalities by limiting their revenue stream and decreasing shared revenue, as well as creating more fiscal stress through these actions. Encouraging consolidation as a “fix” also weakens strong, independent city governments. Finally, create “stress tests” and “financial transparency” legislation to create litmus tests, empowering the state to classify municipalities as “financially insolvent.” This would open the floodgates to corporations waiting in line for no-bid, privatized service contracts to alleviate the “financial stress” they are under – all at the direction of the Governor and DOA. The “stress test” legislation has been worked on by lobbyists at Smart Government, Inc., and will most likely be introduced in June (see previous bdgrdemocracy blog links, above). Collective bargaining legislation is held up in court – hopefully in perpetuity. The other “tools” are either in place or exist as bills in committee.

These bills cannot be allowed to be used by the Governor and GOP corporatics to weaken Wisconsin’s municipal governments. The state should be investing in our cities, not creating financial stress in an already challenging fiscal climate. The right to collective bargain must also be preserved, as it is the only blockade to the Governor’s grand scheme. Privatization and consolidation cannot occur where legal active contracts are in place for public service employees. If collective bargaining restrictions are introduced in the budget, they must be stopped. Contact legislators and share this information – tell them to kill these and any other bills that weaken our strong, vibrant cities. As one of Mark Pocan’s staff said – strong and independent cities are a great check for overreaching state power. So are strong progressive voters.

Envision the Walker Recall – an Open Letter to lovers of Democracy

This writing may seem premature with recalls for Legislators yet to be decided and so many budget battles before us. I would argue now is the time to seriously contemplate the successful recall of Scott Walker. The passion and enthusiasm to recall Governor Walker is understandable. What he and his minions are doing to Wisconsin counters every principle this great state has cherished for generations. There are thousands waiting in line to sign the petition legally and legitimately, and thousands waiting to volunteer for the effort. In no way do I question that passion, nor do I wish to slow the process of getting Scott Walker the hell out of office (pardon my French). I write this letter to ask all those seeking the goal of recalling Scott Walker to unite, put aside personal agendas and goals, understand the immense task at hand, and be humbled by the enormity of our stated goal.

From the filing of the petition to recall, we will have a mere sixty days to gather the necessary minimum of 540,206 signatures. Let no one underestimate the enormity of this task. To date, the group United Wisconsin has only collected a little over 185,000 signatures. Granted, enthusiasm has waned in lieu of more critical and immediate battles – still, the number is daunting. Crunching the numbers, assume the need for 650,000 signatures – to be safe in the face of strenuous challenges. That requires the gathering of 10,833 signatures per day. Working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day (one must sleep and eat) requires 903 an hour, which brings us to 15 signatures a minute to achieve the goal of recalling Scott Walker. This is not being written to dissuade the effort – on the contrary, it is being written to encourage the great effort needed by everyone.

That is the key – everyone must work together. It sounds simplistic, but the idea in such a time is far from simple. This is a call for individuals, groups, and organizations to set aside personal, political, and ideological goals and agendas for one cause and the greater good. In fact, for the soul of the state. In such a politically charged time, there will be ample opportunity for those with great ambition to put personal gain ahead of the mission – and perhaps be oblivious to their unintended consequences. Listen, discuss, and engage, but be of an open mind to your fellow patriots. We will all have a role in this undertaking, and we must do our part. Most of all, we must be patient.

Patience – a difficult concept when your rights are being stripped away. From the schools, to the polls, to the cities and villages we live in, our lives and rights are being diminished. In speaking with those closest to the recall process, some are calling for immediate action in November – culminating in delivery of petitions in January, the earliest possible date. Others favor a more deliberate approach – timing petitions to coincide with mid-summer drives, taking advantage of a simultaneous Presidential Election. These options must be weighed now – consensus must be reached and agreed upon by all parties involved, unifying all groups under one umbrella. Some leaders will become followers, and must do so gladly, knowing the stakes are so high. We have one shot at this – money will be pouring in to protect Walker, grassroots effort and unity is our only defense. The data from recent elections will have to be utilized by expert analysts, determining areas of focus around the state where success is likely in garnering signatures. Time is of the essence, no room for spending 12 hours in a heavily Republican voting district. Coordinated efforts will be needed county-by-county, focusing on high probability success – and legal gathering methods. There will be no time or room for error – and very little time for scattered petition drives that may detract from an otherwise united effort.

 I ask the reader to share this writing widely – not to discourage, but to encourage anyone reading it to visualize what a successful recall looks like, and feels like. Visualize every progressive person in the state coming together in sixty amazing days; selflessly and dedicated to one goal – the taking back of Democracy in Wisconsin. Should the recall happen immediately? Or are the holidays too difficult of a time to have the necessary commitment, weather working against us, low voter interest? Is it better to ride the wave into a Presidential Election? Ponder these questions, discuss them, and keep an open mind. Think deliberately on what this recall looks like to you, and what it means to you – then ask your neighbors, friends, fellow progressives, and really listen. As you do, take part in the Republican Senatorial recalls closest to you, get involved as a progressive, and get people registered to vote! When the time is right, we will unite to recall Scott Walker, and right the wrongs he has perpetrated on the people and idea of Wisconsin.

Kloppenburg Statement on Waukesha County Recount Conclusion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 20, 2011
 
Contact: Melissa Mulliken
The Kloppenburg for Justice Committee
608-206-1818
 
Statement of Melissa Mulliken, Kloppenburg for Justice Campaign Manager on Supreme Court Recount
 
Melissa Mulliken, Campaign Manager for JoAnne Kloppenburg, today issued a statement on the conclusion of the recount process in Waukesha County:
 
Clerks around Wisconsin have done hard and good work on this recount and all Wisconsin residents owe them thanks. We also thank the hundreds of volunteers across the state who have served as observers.

 The recount  has uncovered numerous anomalies and irregularities. Vote tallies have changed in every county.
 
Now, as the process calls for, we will review the record and we will determine, based on the facts, the evidence and the law, whether to request judicial review.

The statement above was released this afternoon by Kloppenburg Campaign Manager Melissa Mulliken. In speaking with bdgrdemocracy, she added her expectation that the GAB will most likely post results on Monday. A very likely scenario, considering the scrutiny revolving around Waukesha County. She additionally stated her gratitude to supporters and volunteers, and that even Prosser volunteers agreed the recount had revealed many flaws in the election process.

Stay tuned for updates as they develop.

Mike Ellis, Republicans conduct in passage of Voter ID – proof of fear, arrogance, abuse of power

In the passage of the “Voter ID” bill in the Senate today, President Mike Ellis and the GOP blatantly violated rules of the Senate and limited debate in a highly contentious session. The entire session from Thursday, May 19 is archived on Wiseye, and it is a lesson in the Democratic process that is being bludgeoned at the hands of Republicans in the Senate. Any reports in the media of “debate” on this bill had been grossly exaggerated. All night Tuesday, any “debate” was a series of amendments offered by Democrats, attempting to make the bill fair and reasonable, that were immediately tabled by Senator Leibham, rendering them moot. No debate on the merits of the amendments (Senator Erpenbach offered an amendment to prohibit carrying firearms into a polling place – seems reasonable in light of pending concealed carry legislation), they were summarily cast away. This is not debate, it is the Republicans standing silent as many of their own constituents’ rights are diminished, unwilling to consider the most common sense amendments. Again, this is not the spirit of debate.

Today, May 19, the Senate adopted a rule to limit debate in organization committee prior to the session – debate was to end at 11am. The time limit was challenged by Democrats, and defeated. Never mind that the Senate has existing rules to end debate, that the Senate is structured to be a deliberative body to preserve minority rights; the Majority party limited the debate on an extraordinarily draconian bill.  Although this time is set, there is a schedule of Senators to speak. During Senator Risser’s time, President Mike Ellis informed him of his limited time remaining. While Senator Risser had the floor (with Senator Vinehout waiting her turn to speak for her constituents), President Ellis announced time had expired. As Mike Ellis was about to cut off the longest serving Legislator in the United States, Senator Erpenbach stood and made a motion to adjourn. Under Senate rules, the motion to adjourn is a “priviledged motion.” It takes precedence over any other motion in place. This motion was not only ignored, Senator Ellis incorrectly announced that it does not take precedence over the role call vote (which it does, as it was motioned before the roll was called). Mike Ellis then gaveled through the vote, instructing the clerk to turn off the microphones for the Senators. After passage, Ellis proceeded to do a little victory dance in front of the podium. They have the votes – why violate the rules and make a mockery of the proceedings?

This behavior is reprehensible. Senator Ellis and the rest of the majority deserve all the scorn and denegration they will receive. Shame on them – they know better. Watch the video, and remember this day and their actions. Get out the vote, help educate, and help get them out of our house. For the record, Senator Ellis’ office had no comment for this article.

National Guard/DMA Review – What and When Walker wants and DNR as the new “Palace Guard”

The Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs (DMA) has been conducting an “After Action Report” (AAR) at the request of DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch since March 12, 2011 (according to Lt. Col. Jacqueline Guthrie). This report, requested only four days after Judge Albert ordered the Capitol “opened” as it was prior to January 28, 2011, is expected to be delivered “sometime within the next couple of weeks” (Lori Getter – Wisconsin Emergency Management/DMA). The timing could not be better for Scott Walker and Mike Huebsch in their desire to maintain the status quo at the Capitol. Judge Albert’s court reconvenes on May 24th, and that report will be exactly what they need to keep security levels where they are at the Capitol. This is another example of Walker manipulation and payback, forwarding his agenda at the expense of free speech and expression.

Walking into the Capitol on Saturday felt like Mitchell International Airport – with the exception of TSA security being replaced by the DNR. The DNR has been providing additional security at the Capitol since the height of the protests. The requests have come from the DOA through the Capitol Police, and on Saturday the DNR sent 10 Forest Rangers along with 11 Game Wardens. The DNR sends volunteers as available, and bills the cost of these individuals to the DOA. One has to question the decision of using wardens and rangers in this manner, outside their realm of expertise (especially during fishing season) and crowd asessment capabilities. The cronyism regarding Walker’s pick for DNR Secretary (Cathy Stepp)is old news; the broader question arises in the context of security. The Governor and DOA are so concerned with security at the Capitol, they have ordered an AAR from the Department of Military Affairs. In recent state history AARs have been requested post 9/11, the great I90 snowstorm debacle, and for Y2K readiness, to lend context to the type of event warranting such a study.  Yet they are “comfortable” (according to DOA spokeswoman Carla Vigue) with DNR officers providing security. The fact is, they don’t feel there is any more of a “threat” – this DMA report will serve a purpose for Walker and Huebsch.

The mike huebsch deposition (beginning on page 25 of the document) of April 25, 2011 states that this AAR is in the works. It had been for over a month at the time of the deposition, and when bdgrdemocracy requested information from the National Guard on May 10, here was the response:

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: FOUO

Scott – thanks for your patience while I researched your questions.  As I
said on the phone the Department of Military Affairs includes the Wisconsin
National Guard and Wisconsin Emergency Management.  WEM has facilitated an
After Action Review session with other involved agencies that served in and
around the capitol in February and March during the budget crisis
demonstrations.  The purpose of the review was to identify areas for
improvement in the areas of incident management, safety and security of the
Capitol and capture applicable lessons learned. The team is in the process of
compiling the report which will be provided to Secretary Huebsch when
complete. 

Jackie Guthrie
LTC,  Wisconsin National Guard
Director of Public Affairs

I then followed up with the DOA, requesting clarification on the timeline of the report. Less than 24 hours later, I received the follwing email:

Vigue, Carla J – DOA to me
show details May 11 (6 days ago)

The Department of Military Affairs – which includes the Wisconsin National Guard and Wisconsin Emergency Management – facilitated an After Action Review session with other involved agencies that served in and around the capitol during the demonstrations in February and March.  The purpose of the review was to identify areas for improvement in the areas of incident management, safety and security of the Capitol and capture applicable lessons learned. The team is in the process of compiling the report which will be provided to Secretary Huebsch when complete.
 
DMA conducts these AARs anytime there is a major event and the decision to conduct one about the events at the Capitol fits with the department’s past practice.

Virtually identical statements. Lt. Col. Guthrie confirmed she had contacted DOA before making a statement, since it is “the DOA’s report.” The report initiated by Huebsch will be exactly what he needs to avoid being found in contempt, and allow the Capitol to remain in lockdown. The reason the report will contain this information is another example of Walker cronyism and political payback.

In court testimony, virtually all law enforcement officers characterized the demonstrations as “peaceful,” citing “cooperative” demonstrators. Not even the testimony of the Capitol Police help Walker and Huebsch in this regard. The expert “testimony” and opinion they need will be found in the soon-to-be delivered “AAR” from the DMA/DEM. It will be another in a series of “tools” to allow them to quell freedom of speech and demonstration. The DMA/National Guard/DEM serves at the orders of the Governor, who is the Commander-in-Chief. The Adjutant General of the DMA/NG/DEM is Donald Dunbar. Dunbar is a Colonel in the Guard (Air Force), and is under investigation since June 2010 by the Air Force Inspector General for undisclosed reasons. Due to this investiation, Dunbar was denied a Federal Promotion by the Senate to Brigadier General after being nominated earlier in the year by President Obama. This has put his future in the Guard at risk, as under Wisconsin Statutes, the AG of the Guard must “be fully qualified to receive Federal recognition at the rank of Brigadier.” Based on an AFIG investigation, he may not achieve that rank. His appointed term ends in September 2012, at which time Governor Walker may choose to keep him or replace him. The AG of the National Guard serves solely on the appointment of the Governor, despite the qualification “recommendation”  in statutes.

I submit a scenario in which AG Dunbar oversees the creation of a report at the DMA under his command, which has the necessary information for Secretary Huebsch and Governor Walker to draw the conclusion based on “expert assessment” of events at the Capitol to retain elevated security measures. This will be presented to the court as evidence of Secretary Huebsch “acting reasonably to maintain a balance of security and public access”. If you read the deposition, those are his own words. On page 26, he also foreshadows this conclusion by stating he doesn’t believe the report will call for return to an open Capitol.  When I presented this scenario to Lt. Col. Guthrie, she stated that she couldn’t comment on the content of the report, since she hasn’t seen it. She also stated that the report would be an assessment of the events, and that Secretary Huebsch would be “drawing the conclusions.” There is no doubt that to preserve his station, Secretary Huebsch will have the necessary information in that report to draw the conclusion he wants – and AG Dunbar will deliver a report to secure his station with the DMA/National Guard.

If Governor Walker were interested in running an open state government in this one instance, he would do several things. First, he would open the Capitol. Even post 9/11, after the initial days of the attack had passed, the Capitol was wide open to the public. Second, he would replace AG Dunbar with an officer qualified to hold that post and not under investigation by the Inspector General (Major General or someone qualified to attain the Brigadier status in a timely fashion as is the standard nationwide – and yes, Dunbar was a Doyle appointee). Third, he would make public the AAR (omitting, of course, any truly security sensitive information), and the subsequent improvements to be vetted by a bi-partisan legislative committee.But he won’t – just as with Stephen Fitzgerald and the State Patrol, this will be another in a series of Walker cronyism. Keeping a lesser-qualified candidate in an extremely important State office to further his agenda, and putting the people associated with those officers in very compromising situations.

If this scenario isn’t correct, governor, Cullen Werwie has my contact information – or you could make this situation right for the people of Wisconsin.

Waukesha County…still counting, and where is the GAB?

Waukesha County is the only county in the state still “recounting” ballots in the State Supreme Court race. From the moment (two days after voting ended) Kathy Nickolaus declared “not reporting” City of Brookfield votes giving David Prosser a 7,000+ vote lead over Joanne Kloppenburg, Waukesha County has been at the center of the storm. For good reason, as irregularities in Waukesha County under Nickolaus go back to 2006. Initial ballot security issues on recount day one occurred with Town of Brookfield ballots. An return email to bdgrdemocracy from Reid Magney (GAB spokesman) stated that no GAB staff were on site in any of 72 counties. In fact, staff remained in Madison, available to field calls and questions from…the field. Now only one county is still recounting, and the GAB still remains in Madison. While the GOP wrings it’s hands over voter ID, claiming widespread voter fraud by the electorate (which has never proven to be the case in Wisconsin)- potential real fraud exists in Waukesha County, at the hands of those elected to monitor elections. There have been GAB staffers in and out on a part time basis, but let me be clear – there is still no full time, election monitoring attorney from GAB on site in Waukesha County. Even after many documented anomalies.

The first 5 of 6 ballot bags from the City of Brookfield had serious security issues, some seen in these pictures first posted on bradblog, from Mary Magnuson:

Open bags, unsecured, numbers missing, numbers crossed out, bags resealed and renumbered. Literally, a mess. According to Melissa Mulliken (Kloppenburg Campaign), irregularities have persisted. Bags are counted, set aside, and objections documented by a court reporter for permanent record. When questioned in the presence of a Court Reporter and Judge taking a statement on record in regard to the bag condition, the City of Brookfield Clerk said, “I don’t know.” She had no explanation for the unsecured bags. Some GOP operatives have gone so far as to accuse union highway workers in Waukesha County of tampering with the bags – to make it “look bad.” Almost the same story GOP operatives gave for Mark Pocan’s deceased father’s name being on a recall petition. Here’s the problem – it looked bad BEFORE the discovery of these security issues. Now, it plain stinks.

Throughout this recount, the Prosser Campaign has revealed how little it cares about Democracy, and how completley partisan he is. His “victory lap” with Republican Legislators (including Scott Jensen) was a farce. Their continual focus on the numbers game and pushing to get the counting done (much like GOP legislators pushing their agenda through) serves Prosser’s political future only. Joanne Kloppenburg’s Campaign has been clear all along. This is a Constitutional recount, and the process of vetting this election is more important than who wins or loses. This election and recount continues to disenfranchise voters, cast doubt on the openness of elections, and tarnish the clean government reputation Wisconsin has held forever.

As irregularities continue to be documented, there will undoubtedly be a legal challenge to the vote in Waukesha County. Well it should. Either of the parties have 5 days after voting is completed to file a challenge – expect a strenuous legal challenge from Kloppenburg, at least in Waukesha County. The GAB should be on-site, to witness first hand every irregularity prior to any legal challenge. The conduct of Kathy Nickolaus and her staff must be investigated, and she should resign. Her computer should have been ordered seized and investigated by the GAB from day 1 – it should still be completely checked – every keystroke. This and other writers, members of Congress, State lawmakers, citizens all have called for a non-partisan and complete investigation. It has not happened.                              A message for the GAB – this is not about keeping up the appearance of open and honest elections in Wisconsin. It is about CONDUCTING open and honest elections, and assuring the public you are capable of doing such. Your continued absence in light of what is at least incompetence, at most a fraud in Waukesha County is inexcusable. Yes, you are busy. We are all busy. Recounts, recalls, ultra conservative legislation threatening our state as we know it – we are all overwhelmed. This is your charge – your action, not mere presence is required. The people of Wisconsin deserve answers. You are required to find them – if you are too close to the people involved, find someone who will.

To contact Kevin Kennedy, GAB Director: (608)266-8005

On, Wisconsin!