Fake Democrat will be elected to the Assembly…a picture is worth 1000 words

On August 9, 2012, Badger Democracy wrote a story questioning the legitimacy of former Monona Mayor Robb Kahl running as a Democrat for the 47th Assembly District. Kahl easily won his primary as a Democrat, and is expected to easily defeat his Republican opponent Sandy Bakk in next Tuesday’s General Election. Badger Democracy has obtained exclusive photos which every elector in Kahl’s District must see before casting their ballot.

The photos confirm that Robb Kahl has hoodwinked not only his future constituents; but every good progressive Democrat and organization who has endorsed him. While fraud may be too harsh a term, Kahl can now truly be called a “Dem-in-name-only.” Worse yet, his future constituents will have no idea who he will serve if elected. This writer’s advice – vote for the Republican. At least you will be certain what she stands for. Every progressive who has endorsed Kahl should withdraw their support, and he should be shunned as a self-serving opportunist.

On the night of November 2, 2010 most Democratic candidates and voters were overwhelmed by the nature of the GOP/Tea Party surge in Wisconsin. Most were experiencing emotions running the gamut from anger to depression to shock. Where was Robb Kahl? Celebrating at a victory party. The party was not for a Democratic candidate. Not Tim Cullen, or Kathleen Vinehout. Kahl was celebrating a Scott Walker victory. And he wasn’t celebrating in private. He was on stage – with Scott Walker.

The following photographs obtained by Badger Democracy show Robb Kahl in the back row, left hand side, as the victory confetti drops, holding his Scott Walker campaign sign over his head. He is above, and between Joel and Rebecca Kleefisch in the shot (sign is circled in black). This has been confirmed and is not photo-shopped:

Robb Kahl at Walker victory party 11/2/10 – 1

Here is a closer view of Kahl after the confetti drop (Kahl is circled in black):

Robb Kahl at Walker victory party 11/2/10 – 2

If you need one more view (again circled in black):

Robb Kahl at Walker victory party 11/2/10 – 3

The archived video of the Walker speech from 11/2/10 can be viewed for confirmation. Kahl’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

In case there is any doubt – a file photo of Kahl:

If you want more information on Kahl’s ties with Walker since the 2010 election, the Badger Democracy article from August 9, 2012 referenced above provides the necessary background.

The question is – will Kahl be held to account by the electorate and those who have endorsed him under false pretenses?

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Milwaukee County DA responds to Rite-Hite letter to employees

Milwaukee County DA John Chisolm’s office has responded to an inquiry regarding the controversial letter sent to Rite-Hite employees, informing them of the consequences of an Obama re-election. Here is the unedited text of the letter:

Every Rite-Hite employee in America should understand the personal consequences to them of having our tax rates increase dramatically if President Obama is re-elected, forcing taxpayers to fund President Obama’s future deficits and social programs (including Obamacare), which require bigger government.Rite-Hite is a Subchapter S corporation for taxes, meaning that our corporate tax rate is the highest personal tax rate. So what? Well, our RSP contributions are based on AFTER TAX profits. The tax rate we pay is not 17%, as Warren Buffet would have you believe; with state taxes it is roughly 45%. President Obama has announced that our planned tax rate would increase to roughly 65%, reducing our after tax income by 36% and dramatically reducing, if not eliminating, your and my RSP contributions.

Of equal importance, instead of the these profits being re-invested into Rite-Hite for future growth and profitability, the money will be sent into the abyss that is Washington D.C. So, on top of the burden of having your personal taxes increase dramatically, which they will, your RSP contributions and healthy retirement are also at risk, all for the sake of maintaining an over-sized government that borrows 42% of every dollar it spends.

The other big impact on Rite-Hite employees, if President Obama is re-elected, is the good chance of losing Rite-Hite insurance and being put into Obamacare. Employers have the choice (though competition in the marketplace will dictate), to continue their existing plans or to pay a penalty and have employees go into the Government Plan. Our plan costs much more per family than the penalty and hence the possible competitive need to drop the Rite-Hite Health Plan. Every opportunity to make up for lost profits to taxes will have to be evaluated.

Rite-Hite nor I will ever prejudice any employee for their political views, and, totally respect your right to vote as you choose. I simply am trying to present the facts as I know them and to protect the business you have helped build! Please think very carefully about your vote on November 6th.

This morning, Badger Democracy sent the following email to Chisolm’s office. Rite-Hite is located within Milwaukee County, and Chisolm’s office would have jurisdiction in this matter:

Dear DA Chisolm, 

Your office is most certainly aware of the letter Rite-Hite CEO/Owner Mike White sent to over 1,400 employees urging them to vote against President Obama in the upcoming election. If you have not seen the letter, I have attached a copy for your reference. 

I am asking your office to investigate whether this letter is a violation of Wisconsin Statute 12.07(3): 

12.07 Election restrictions on employers.

(3)No employer or agent of an employer may distribute to any employee printed matter containing any threat, notice or information that if a particular ticket of a political party or organization or candidate is elected or any referendum question is ‘s place or establishment will cease, adopted or rejected, work in the employer in whole or in part, or the place or establishment will be closed, or the salaries or wages of the employees will be reduced, or other threats intended to influence the political opinions or actions of the employees.

 

My opinion is that Mr. White violates the above statute several times in the letter. To wit:

 President Obama has announced that our planned tax rate would increase to roughly 65%, reducing our after tax income by 36% and dramatically reducing, if not eliminating, your and my RSP contributions.” (par 2) 

“So, on top of the burden of having your personal taxes increase dramatically, which they will, your RSP contributions and healthy retirement are also at risk” (par 3.) 

“…if President Obama is re-elected, is the good chance of losing Rite-Hite insurance and being put into Obamacare. Employers have the choice (though competition in the marketplace will dictate), to continue their existing plans or to pay a penalty and have employees go into the Government Plan. Our plan costs much more per family than the penalty and hence the possible competitive need to drop the Rite-Hite Health Plan.” (par 4) 

The final paragraph is clearly a statement that should President Obama be re-elected, employees’ current health plan will be dropped. 

Most disturbing is the direct connection between this letter and a call to action by the Romney campaign. On June 12, 2012, Mitt Romney held a “Town Hall” conference call with NFIB members. While NFIB refuses to disclose its member list, I have it on good authority that Rite Hite is an NFIB member. 

Here is the link to the call audio: http://bcove.me/e07ifp0d 

At 25 minutes in, Mr. Romney is addressing questions regarding Obamacare. At 26:30 in, Mr. Romney urges employers to communicate to their employees their opinions on this election, and the potential consequences of an Obama victory in the election. As an NFIB member, Mr. White would have access to this call and audio, and his letter is clearly an attempt to influence his employees using company resources and his influence as CEO. This is in direct violation of 12.07(3). 

I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.

At 1:00pm, the following response was received:

Thank you for this notice.  Mr. Chisholm is aware of this information and has forwarded the concern to Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf, who reviews election related matters.  If you have additional information, please direct it to our attention. 

Sheila Stanelle

Senior Executive Assistant to District Attorney John Chisholm & Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern

Something tells me Mr. White will be corresponding with ADA Landgraf in the very near future.

 

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Breaking : Paul Ryan’s Big Campaign Finance Problem

A story first reported on “Politicker” is picking up steam and has been confirmed. Paul Ryan appears to have violated FEC laws on campaign finance by paying for Republican National Convention expenses out of his Congressional Campaign account. By FEC law, candidates running for two offices simultaneously must keep separate accounts for each campaign.

According to the latest Ryan for Congress campaign finance report , Ryan’s Congressional campaign spent $59,603.41 specifically itemized as Convention Expenses (beginning on page 1219 of the report pdf).

The Ryan Campaign expenses include multiple rooms at multiple hotels during the convention, including the largest single expense of $34,854.35  at the Marriott Tampa Waterside, the Romney campaign’s base at the convention.

Ryan’s Campaign also paid $4,183.20 for hotel rooms at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, while the Wisconsin delegation was staying in a different hotel operated by the same chain, the Hyatt Regency Tampa. From the article on Politicker:

When we responded asking why so many rooms were purchased, Mr. Seifert sent another email claiming the additional rooms were for “other staff members.” He also provided initial information about the campaign’s spending at the Hyatt.

“As I said when we spoke, the 5 members of the Ryan for Congress staff were there for the full convention. Other staff members of Congressman Ryan’s attended parts of the convention–most notably Congressman Ryan’s keynote address,” Mr. Seifert wrote. “Ryan for Congress reserved 20 rooms at the Marriott and had a couple rooms at the Hyatt, where the Wisconsin Delegation was staying.”

Based on their own disclosure reports Mr. Seifert’s claim Mr. Ryan’s congressional campaign purchased rooms at the hotel where the Wisconsin delegation was staying is untrue. Mr. Seifert has also not responded to a request asking for an explanation of this discrepancy.

Unless Ryan can prove these expenses were clearly for his Congressional Campaign use at the RNC, these discrepancies could be a significant issue – particularly in his local campaign for Congress. The race for the 1st CD has taken a back seat to the Presidential ticket, and challenger Rob Zerban is mounting a considerable challenge to Ryan.

Badger Democracy has emailed both Zerban and Ryan campaigns at this late hour for comment. Updates will be posted as available.

 

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Walker “Rainy Day Fund” a result of Dooh Nibor – Robin Hood in reverse

The Wisconsin State Journal editorial on the “Rainy Day Fund” deposit by the Walker Administration sang the governor’s praises for righting the fiscal ship of state:

Last year, $14.8 million was contributed to the fund, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. And on Monday, the administration announced an additional $108.7 million.

Walker’s record on fiscal responsibility isn’t perfect. But this week’s contribution to the long-empty rainy day fund deserves praise.

In his weekly radio address released today, Walker took the opportunity to tout the magical restoration of Wisconsin’s economic health:

We are depositing money into the state’s rainy day fund in two consecutive years for the first time in our state’s history.  Unlike other states, instead of burying the next generation under a mountain of economically crippling debt, we are making responsible decisions—leaving our children and grandchildren with funding reserves for future hard economic times.

In reality, Walker’s magic is no more than any other magic – illusion, smoke, and mirrors. His so-called surplus has been achieved not by fiscal conservatism or responsibility; but by the same accounting gimmicks he criticized his Democratic opponents of in previous elections. Worse, it has been achieved at the expense of those most in need during a deep recession, and paid those who are already well-off and wealthy. The result is a cautionary tale on what a Romney/Ryan budget would reap on a national scale…

Budget Cuts

Scott Walker and his allies made clear their moral priorities in Act 32, the biennial budget. Significant cuts were made in General Fund programs directly impacting children, education, and the economically disadvantaged. The 2012 Annual Fiscal Report from the Department of Administration (DOA) itemizes the budget choices on page 9 of the document (in millions of dollars):

1. School Aids     -$412.4      -7.7% (an additional $143.6 million taken out of General School revenue was allocated to Milwaukee and Racine private charter program)

2. UW System     -$189.1      -17.2%

3. WI Technical College System     -$35.7      -26.2% (as a footnote – over $600 million in education cuts (K-12 + higher ed) at a time when conservatives cry out for more “skilled labor force”)

4. Correctional Services     -$55.8     -4.9% (Includes $3.9 million in cuts to “Youth Aids” funding – providing local support for delinquent juvenile services)

5. Individual Tax Relief      -$22.6     -7.7% ($22 million cut in the form of a tax increase on low-income adults – a result of a change in the Earned Income Tax Credit in Act 32)

Over $700 million in budget cuts were directed at students of all levels and disciplines, at-risk youth, and the economically disadvantaged. Not everyone was required to sacrifice as much for the state, however. There were a select few that received a direct benefit from the sacrifices of the aforementioned groups.

Taxes  - The June 13, 2011 Legislative Fiscal Bureau Memo itemizes the tax and fee increases/decreases for the biennial budget – much of which passed as proposed in this memo. The beneficiaries and payers are well documented. Low-income families bore the lion’s share of tax increases:

Tax Increases 2011-2013 

1. Earned Income Tax Credit – $56.2 million - “With the proposed changes, it is estimated that the maximum state credit for families with two children would fall from $716 to $562, and the maximum credit for families with three or more children would fall from $2,473 to $1,955.”  

2. Homestead Tax Credit – $13.6 million - Act 32 repealed the existing indexing formula, virtually freezing the Homestead Tax Credit in Wisconsin. “Based on these provisions, the 2011 indexing changes that would increase the maximum income level to $24,990, the maximum property taxes or rent constituting property taxes to $1,480, and the income threshold to $8,160 would not occur. Subsequent indexing for tax year 2012 (2012-13), and thereafter, would also not occur.”

After a nearly $70 million tax increase on low-income households, the benefits of tax cuts went to less than 5% of the population, most to private corporations:

Tax Decreases 2011-2013

Capital Gains deferral for “reinvestment” in Wisconsin Business – $36.3 million - Capital Gains tax breaks benefit a very small number of taxpayers, primarily those with adjusted gross income over $200,000/year:

Under this provision, investors can sell off assets and reinvest the proceeds without being taxed on income from profits. Investors would only have to pay taxes on these profits after the new, Wisconsin-based assets are sold. The cost of this provision is $36.3 million over the next two years and $197.9 million over the next 10 years.

Domestic Production Credit – $10.1 million in 2012-13 - This astonishing tax credit to big manufacturing and agriculture production is phased in over the next 4 years. The only qualifier is that the income claimed for the credit must be a result of production in Wisconsin. The credit phase-in schedule is as follows:

a. 1.875% for tax year 2013;
b. 3.75% for tax year 2014;
c. 5.526% for tax year 2015; and
d. 7.5% for tax year 2016 and thereafter.

The credit reduces state revenue by an estimated $10,100,000 in 2012-13, $44,200,000 in 2013-14, $72,300,000 in 2014-15, $104,400,000 in 2015-16, and $128,700,000 in fiscal year 2016-17 and thereafter. This budget provision alone creates a structural deficit in 2 years.

Combined Reporting loss revisions – $46.4 million – Simply stated, large multi-unit corporations can use pre-2009 losses from one business unit to offset current profit in other business units, out to the year 2031.

The tax score – $69.8 million in tax increases to poor families who already can’t afford it, and $92.8 million (ballooning to over $200 million in 2016) in credits to the wealthy and large corporations resulting in a loss of revenue during a recession.

General Fund Raid

The June 14, 2011 Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo itemizes a broken campaign promise by Scott Walker. In a time of supposed budgetary crisis, Walker inserts a boondoggle for one of his largest constituent groups – private transportation construction.  From the LFB memo:

General Fund to Transportation Fund
–2011-13 Transfer (Page 605, #5)                                                                                        $125,000,000
–Ongoing Transfer of 0.25% of General Fund Taxes (Page 605, #6)         $35,127,000

A two-year total of $160.1 million taken out of an already decimated General Fund (see tax decreases above).

Mortgage Settlement Raid

As a part of the nationwide mortgage services abuse settlement, the state of Wisconsin was set to directly receive $31.6 million was to “be used for future law enforcement efforts, additional relief to borrowers, civil penalties, funding of foreclosure relief programs and compensation to the state for its losses from the crisis.” Instead, the Walker Administration put $25.6 million of that money into the General Fund – eventually accounting for a large portion of the “Rainy day” fund.

Debt Restructuring

A May 18, 2012 Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo itemizes another broken Walker promise. Walker promised not to “kick the can down the road” or use any “accounting gimmicks” in “balancing the budget.” Not only did Walker kick the can down the road, he assured future generations of paying off more interest than accrued by the Thompson/McCallum/Doyle debt from 2001-2010. The total restructured by Walker will be paid off until the year 2030-31 is $558,275,756 principal, $156,122,992 interest, $714,398,748 total.

CHIPRA-Medicaid Bonus Raid

A $24.5 million bonus from the Federal Government for increasing child enrollment in the Medicaid  program was used not as intended (to support the Badger Care program), but rather to pad the budget surplus. From page 6-7 of the February 15, 2012 LFB memo on budget lapses :

(Wisconsin) showed that it had increased the average monthly number of children enrolled in the program by 85,557 above the FFY 2009-10 baseline for the state (368,429), for a total average monthly enrollment in that year of 453,986.

Wisconsin’s performance bonus payment for this year is $24,541,778. This amount was based on a FFY 2010-11 monthly average number of unduplicated qualifying children of 467,963.

Money earmarked for supporting an increase in poor children’s healthcare access was rerouted to pad a “budget surplus” in a purely political exercise.

What Walker and his legislative allies have done is nothing more than shifted the revenue burden onto those who can least afford it in a deep recession; and placed the burden of state debt onto the backs of our children already suffering the consequences of this economy. This “surplus” has been taken directly out of our pockets. The wealthy, corporatist barons have succeeded in plundering the good people of Wisconsin in their time of need. Robin Hood in reverse – “Dooh Nibor.”

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Breaking – Jesse Jackson arrested with Sensata Workers; threats to close “immediately”

Breaking in Freeport, IL – Standing with Sensata workers in Freeport, IL, Reverend Jesse Jackson has been arrested along with other protesting Sensata workers:

 

This has occurred after Sensata plant management conveyed a message through Freeport Police to protestors and the public late yesterday. Management is threatening to close the plant immediately if protesting workers attempt to enter the factory to initiate negotiations with management for severance benefits. The workers have filed two unfair labor practice complaints against the company with the National Labor Relations Board in the past 24 hours.

Jackson was marching with the protesting workers to attempt negotiations with plant management. At this time, the plant remains open.

Follow #Sensata on twitter for updates…

 

 

 

Americans for Prosperity will pay for your gas…for votes??

A post on the Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin website today claims the partisan, conservative organization will pay for people’s gas. The publicity stunt walks a fine campaign finance law line over a highly politicized topic – gas prices. From the AFP website:

When President Obama took office in January 2009, gas cost just $1.84 per gallon…To help relieve the pain at the pump and show Wisconsinites that there is a better way, AFP-Wisconsin will be paying the difference for you Tuesday, October 30th from 11am to 3pm at the Mount View Mobil Station (County Road NN exit on I-39) in Wausau.

 

AFP is directly linked to David and Charles Koch of Koch Industries, staunch supporters of Mitt Romney and ultra-conservative candidates nationwide. The Koch brothers started AFP, and continue to be the organizations’ largest financial supporters. From a 2009 interview of David Koch (the Washington Independent):

“Five years ago my brother Charles and I provided the funds to start the Americans for Prosperity. And it’s beyond my wildest dreams how the AFP has grown into this enormous organization.”

Koch Industries has recently been criticized for mailing letters to 45,000 Georgia Pacific employeesthreatening financial and employment consequences if Mitt Romney is not elected president.

Charles Koch penned an op-ed criticizing President Obama that was included in the mailing sent to all 45,000 employees of Koch Industries’ Georgia-Pacific subsidiary. The packet included a flyer with a list of candidates supported by Koch companies or its political action committee KOCHPAC. Mitt Romney tops the list. It also included an op-ed by Charles Koch slamming President Obama and one by David Koch praising Romney.

The AFP statement uses language that sounds strikingly familiar to Romney campaign ads:

President Obama’s failing agenda has had a disastrous effect on the pocketbooks of Wisconsin families for almost four yearsBy reminding drivers how different things were just a few short years ago, we can continue to show folks that by embracing energy independence and economic freedom, we can get America back on track.”

AFP hides behind its non-profit, “non-partisan” status to avoid prosecution for violation of campaign finance laws. It is claiming to merely be “educating” voters on issues.

On the contrary, this is an overt attempt to campaign for Mitt Romney at the pump – and pay for 300 votes at $1.84 a gallon…priceless propaganda.

 

 

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Investigation: Walker Administrations in Milwaukee and Madison – incompetence or corruption?

The Joint Legislative Audit Committee held a public hearing today to take testimony and commence an audit of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). Unfortunately, Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) left the hearing prior to the testimony of outgoing WEDC CEO Paul Jadin. If he had stayed, Vos would have heard Jadin call for “more legislative oversight and accountability” of WEDC in his testimony.

The recent criticism of WEDC and the Department of Administration (DOA) mismanagement of the Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG) from US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) directors uncovered what appears to be a pattern following Scott Walker from his County Executive office in Milwaukee to the Governor’s office in Madison. Is it sheer incompetence, or inherent corruption and cronyism?

On March 15 2012, just one month prior to HUD suspending WEDC from administering the block grant program, HUD sent a letter to the new Milwaukee County Director of Health and Human Services Hector Colon (Full March 15 2012 letter here).  The letter informed DHHS Director Colon that after a HUD review of additional information supplied by the County, 23 of 29 block grant awards failed to meet federal requirements, and the County could face repayment of over $500,000 in grants. An additional 3 programs required further documentation.

The Milwaukee County program was being administered during that time period by Timothy Russell, at the time Walker’s housing director now facing trial in the John Doe investigation. Another key Milwaukee Walker Administration person in the block grant program was Lisa Jo Marks, director of DHHS under Walker. Marks is now the DOA Housing director in the current Walker Administration.

Lisa Jo Marks was Walker’s Child Support Enforcement Director from 2007 – 2009 before being named interim director of DHHS. Marks replaced Corey Hoze as DHHS director when Hoze left for a job as Associated Bank Vice President of Government Affairs.   Hoze also now serves on the WEDC Board of Directors – another agency currently involved in CDBG program controversy under Walker. Marks and Hoze undoubtedly work together in their capacities in DOA and WEDC (respectively) grant programs. Marks has also appeared as a presenter at the ultra-conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute during her Walker Administration tenure.

Badger Democracy has obtained a 2009 HUD spreadsheet from the CDBG program demonstrating continuing administration problems with accountability in the program. The spreadsheet lists 2008 programs for “LMJ and LMH” (low-mid income housing and jobs) which failed to document accomplishments as required under federal law. HUD analysts informed Badger Democracy that two of the three had eventually fulfilled the reporting requirements. One had not. Program number 3254 in the amount of $12,258.52 was made to Wisconsin Community Services in 2008. WCS has received no block grant money since 2008, and to this day has not fulfilled the reporting requirement.

Key individuals in the Milwaukee Walker Administration not under investigation in the ongoing John Doe investigation have been selected by the governor to be involved in the current CDBG program. A series of department memos from May-June 2010 show that Timothy Russell, Lisa Marks, and Cynthia Archer were all involved in the block grant award process, and had to have firsthand knowledge of grantors and awards. Only 29 awards were distributed in 2011.

A subsequent memo from October 2010 shows that Walker, Russell, and Archer were directly involved (along with the County Board and DHHS) in grant awards. A full list of past and present grants are included in the memo. On September 10, 2010, DHHS Interim Director Lisa Marks presented the list of CDBG awards to the Committee on Economic and Community Development for approval.  In spite of the numerous checks and balances in the system, the grants were made and approved on the basis of trust in the Walker Administration’s assurance of their qualifications.

A close examination reveals a pattern of questionable awards, personnel, and activities. County CDBG funds must go to non-city programs in Milwaukee County. The basic violation of the programs is that they serve constituents in the city of Milwaukee, not the county (non-Milwaukee city). Of note is the money awarded to similar organizations for similar purposes. A vast majority of the grants are awarded to private charities for either job training or facility improvements/construction. While the mission of these charities is largely legitimate, who receives the grant money at the contractor level is a very large question. Under the circumstances, it should receive much greater scrutiny – especially in the following three cases.

Milwaukee County Community Business Development Partners (CBDP) is a county agency that administers the Disadvantaged Business program, and is a public/private partnership. The CBDP received over $27,000 in federal block grant money in 2011 for “micro-enterprise development.” HUD has determined that this violates the program guidelines, as all clients are in the city of Milwaukee, not the County (non-city). On July 19, 2012, then director of CBDP, Frieda Webb, was arrested by the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department. Webb stands accused of defrauding the County through falsifying contracts for services not fulfilled and double-billing the county for some classes and services rendered. The FBI has been  involved in the investigation. Webb was hired by Scott Walker to serve as the agency’s director.

Webb allegedly conspired with Homer L. Key, owner of 5 Star Construction and Renovation in Milwaukee in the scheme to bill the County for thousands of dollars in services. While neither Webb or Key have yet been charged, the Milwaukee County DA’s office “could not comment on the investigation.”  All indications are this is an ongoing investigation. Webb has since been released from county jail. Key is having extensive legal issues in Milwaukee County. Neither party returned calls for comment.

Northcott Neighborhood House received $27,720 of block grant funds for renovation and construction in 2011. Executive Director of Northcott, McArthur Weddle, has recently been appointed to the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) board for a four-year term by Scott Walker. Weddle joins close Walker associate and ally Wyman Winston (WHEDA Director) on the WHEDA Board.

Winston recently came under scrutiny after a report surfaced that he was over one year late in paying property taxes on rental property amounting to payments over $30,000. 

The WHEDA connection leads to a third grant award in question – in Milwaukee’s Park East Corridor now under development using millions of dollars in tax credits, subsidized loans, and grants. For years, the city and county have been on the hook for development in the corridor amid a series of lucrative financing deals for developers.

The St. Catherine’s Residence received a veto override vote from the County Board in 2007. Since that Walker veto, St. Catherine’s has even received donations from the Walkers on an annual basis. The residence has been built and continually renovated, remodeled, and expanded largely with public money from block grants and WHEDA. St. Catherine’s recently received a share of 2012 grant awards from WHEDA to “expand security measures, remodel kitchens and bathrooms, replace or repair roofs, elevators and boilers, and make restrooms handicapped accessible.”

It is not the charitable organizations themselves that should receive heightened scrutiny. Both Walker administrations rife with cronyism have demonstrated a consistent level of incompetence – or they are corrupt. It cannot be both. Walker has taken the same people with him to Madison to run these programs, and they should (by now) know the rules. Which makes the WEDC/HUD/DOA fiasco even more outrageous.

Who are the contractors who have been paid millions of dollars over the years from the CDBG program in Milwaukee County  under Scott Walker, and has this program become a giant boondoggle for them? How many no-bid contracts have been awarded by allegedly corrupt officials like Frieda Webb? Is this what Walker hoped to accomplish with WEDC – on a statewide scale? At risk are millions of dollars to municipalities which are critical to local development – particularly in areas of poverty.

No one from the previous Walker Administration in Milwaukee, WEDC, DOA, or WHEDA returned calls for comment. An open records request pertaining to this information has been filed and acknowledged with WEDC and DOA.

This story will be updated as it continues to develop.

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Is this the beginning…of the end for Scott Walker?

Multiple media outlets are reporting that former Walker Deputy Chief of Staff Kelly Rindfleisch has reached a tentative plea agreement with prosecutors in the Milwaukee County John Doe Investigation.

The plea hearing has been scheduled at 1:30pm in Milwaukee County Circuit Court this Thursday, five days before Scott Walker was scheduled to appear as a witness for the defense.

Facing four felony campaign fraud counts, the 43 year-old Rindfleisch is very likely ready to cut a deal to save herself possible jail time. One of the only avenues she has to a plea deal is to implicate a superior, who would have been instructing her and have full knowledge of her activities. As Deputy Chief of Staff, there are very few people who fall into that category – one being Scott Walker.

One other former Walker aide has already reached a plea agreement – Darlene Wink. That makes two former high level aides to Walker making a deal…and probably talking to save themselves.

Stay tuned as the investigation continues to get closer and closer…

 


		

Milwaukee DA – Checkmate to Scott Walker in John Doe

Breaking – Scott Walker has been served a subpoena through his attorney Michael Steinle. Walker has been called by Rindfleisch’s defense to testify. It has been reported that Rindfleisch has been cooperating with prosecutors. Walker was originally called as a prosecution witness, but was released and then called by the defense.Walker is being called to testify in the misconduct trial against one of his former Milwaukee County aides, Kelly Rindfleisch.

Walker is scheduled to testify on Tuesday, October 16.

 

County personnel records have shown that Walker was personally responsible for hiring Rindfleisch when he was Milwaukee County Executive. Rindfleisch stands accused of conducting  campaign activities while serving as Deputy Chief of Staff to Scott Walker, just steps down the hall through a secret computer server system.

The investigation has recently expanded to encompass current Walker Administration communications at the State Capitol, including former Walker Chief of Staff Keith Gilkes.

Milwaukee County DA John Chisolm and his investigators have placed Walker in checkmate. Walker must either testify under oath and perjure himself by denying any knowledge of the overt illegal campaign activities, or plead his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination. It would appear the sources quietly hinting that Walker is the likely John Doe target are accurate.

Those predicting an indictment by the end of the year may be closer than they thought. Stay tuned…

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About the latest employment numbers, Governor Walker…how’s austerity working?

Scott Walker was quick to take credit for continued modest gains in employment after the latest quarterly numbers were released (QCEW) on Thursday. From Walker’s weekly radio address:

The fiscal reforms we put in place coupled with reforms like reducing frivolous lawsuits and bringing certainty and accountability to state regulations, have established a strong foundation for job growth.

Walker has also been quick to blame Barack Obama and the national economy for Wisconsin’s lag in job growth:

“While Wisconsin still faces the challenges of a stagnant national economy, Governor Walker’s upcoming budget will focus on creating jobs, and growing the state’s economy.”

Wisconsin continues to lag far behind most of the nation in job growth, a pathetic 38th overall. Growth was virtually non-existent at 1.22%, 45th in rate of growth (image courtesy Milwaukee Journal Sentinel):

The US and most Midwestern states saw growth around 2% for the same time period. Walker is taking credit where no credit is due. In fact, his austerity measures targeting public employees have been a large reason Wisconsin is lagging in job growth. The austerity measures in place in Wisconsin have resulted in a real tax increase and burden on the middle class. Less income for a majority of Wisconsinites means less revenue, and slower growth.

The data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is proof positive that any employment growth in Wisconsin is largely due to the direction of the overall national economy. And that the policies of Scott Walker are holding us back.

Given the long-term nature of employment growth or loss, let’s go back to 2002 for the 10-year trend.

Wisconsin 2002-2012 QCEW report (full spreadsheet linked)

March 2002 – 2,639,035

March 2007 – 2,728,963

March 2010 – 2,568,348

March 2012 – 2,638,987

Wisconsin is barely back to 2002 employment levels. That is not the case nationally. Scott Walker’s austerity measures have had a direct short-term impact (negative) on employment. The national numbers show that Walker is riding the coat tails of a modestly growing national labor economy:

US QCEW 2002-2012 (full spreadsheet linked):

March 2002 – 127,303,773

March 2007 – 134,280,105

March 2010 – 126,228,228

March 2012 – 130,175,438

Notice the trend there? The difference is that the national (and most other states’) economies are outpacing Wisconsin, significantly exceeding 2002 levels.

Three graphs, displayed on the linked Employment PDF Graphs here, demonstrate the commonality in the overall employment trend – with Wisconsin lagging in growth from 2010-2012, as the above data indicates. Walker’s continual politicization of the employment data has made matters worse, pursuing ideological agenda over real bi-partisan economic policies.

Austerity is a job killer. Period. Forget “regulation” or “uncertainty”, all of which are corporate conservative propaganda. The real damper on job creation can be found in the policy manuals of Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, and Mitt Romney.

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