A blistering audit released Wednesday said Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s premier job creation agency repeatedly broke state law in its first year of operation, failed to adequately track money it awarded for economic development projects and sometimes gave money to ineligible recipients.
--The Associated Press.
The Continuing Adventures of Wisconsin
The latest brainstorm from the mind of Scott Walker, the twice-elected goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin, is a “middle-class tax cut,” which, according to Walker, is what he’s all about these days.
“Our focus is simple - more prosperity, better performance and true independence,” Walker said in his 40-minute speech. “Our middle class tax cut is a down payment on my goal of reducing the tax burden in our state every year I’m in office. I want to cut taxes over and over and over again until we are leading the country in economic recovery.”
The top 20% of Wisconsin households - those making more than $90,000 a year - would take home more than half of all of Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed income tax cut, an analysis has found. The top 5% of tax filers - those with incomes above $162,000 - would pull in 20% of Walker’s more than $300 million tax cut.
Read more here.
#WIunion ALERT: Another GOP Bomb: 3PM facebook update from Wisconsin Senator Lassa: GOP bill targeting private sector unions is being fast tracked in the legislature.
screenshot is of an update made roughly 3PM February 19, 2013
Scott Walker transferred another $40,000 into his criminal defense fund
Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker transferred another $40,000 into his criminal defense fund on the final day of the 2012 calendar year.
This latest transfer of money has raised more eyebrows about the ongoing “John Doe” investigation in Wisconsin, in which Darlene Wink, Kevin Kavanaugh, Kelly Rindfleisch, and Tim Russell, all former political confidants of Walker, have either been convicted or have plead guilty as part of the John Doe probe.
Scott Walker himself has yet to be charged with any wrongdoing, however, he has a criminal defense fund, he has NOT been cleared of any wrongdoing, and he has NOT been granted immunity in the John Doe probe. Wisconsin state law only allows the incumbent governor to establish a criminal defense fund if the governor, one or more agent(s) of the governor, or someone who is dependent upon the governor and/or one or more agent(s) of the governor, is a target of a criminal investigation, has been indicted, or has been convicted.
Special Interests Seek to Influence Wisconsin Mining Bill
A proposed iron ore mine would be located near wetlands in Northern Wisconsin.
The push to streamline Wisconsin mining laws started two years ago, when an interested Florida-based company complained the state’s permitting rules were too strict. Gov. Walker and Republican legislators tried to pass a bill to ease the process, but could not round up enough votes in the Senate last year. Now, with a larger majority, Republicans are making a second attempt. They held a single public hearing on their proposal last week at the Capitol.
“The members of those committees that were sitting there taking that public testimony had themselves received over $800,000 in campaign contributions since 2010 from these mining interests.”
That’s Mike McCabe, executive director of the government watchdog group, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. It looked at a few dozen groups that registered to lobby in favor of mining changes, and tracked their campaign contributions, as well as those from their member companies and the companies’ employees. From 2010 to last summer, the donors gave $15.6 million to Gov. Walker and lawmakers. Republicans received the bulk of the money.
How Wisconsin Stopped Being Wisconsin
If your state rep is down there taking a check from the mining company, and then he goes dancing down the aisle waving the check over his head and screaming like a chicken, you can’t film him and show it at your next community action meeting.Sit down. Shut up. Don’t move.
This is not the way Wisconsin politics is supposed to work. Wisconsin is where loud, muscular progressive politics was born. Robert LaFollette was not civil, in the way that word is bandied about today. He had no “other hands,” and he crusaded for measures that struck power from the oligarchy and made the system more responsive to the people who allegedly were in charge of it. To see this happen in Wisconsin, especially while they’re debating this godawful giveaway to the extraction industries, is to see something precious dammed up at its source.
Much of the attention paid to the ongoing war on democracy taking place in the states has to do with the consequences of rigged redistricting, the finagling with the electoral college, and the fragging of organized labor. All of those are important and worthy of notice. But it is in these little things where the real damage is done. The goal is to remove ordinary citizens from the exercise of their government as far as possible, either rhetorically or, in this case, literally. It is in these little things in which citizens are made ignorant of the simple habits of self-government, of the basic autonomic instincts of democracy. Once you deaden those reflexes, the big stuff is a lot easier.
- Charles Pierce, breaking my heart as writes about Wisconsin.
Rachel Maddow: The GOP’s New Math
Republicans are trying to figure out if they can use the fact that Republicans have control of the state government to change who that state votes for for President.
Wisconsin this past election would have cast its 200,000 more votes for Obama than Romney. But, instead of Obama getting 10 electoral votes out of it, Wisconsin effectively would have cast half a vote for Romney and half a vote for Obama — it would have been 5 to 5 in terms of electoral votes. Extrapolate this out to the national level under the most aggressive plan that’s been put forward on the Republican side and President Obama would have finished the election nationwide with 5 million more votes than Mitt Romney but Mitt Romney could still have won the electoral college and won the presidency.
NRA Put Big Money on Walker Campaign
Gov. Scott Walker has been quick with symbolic measures after the massacre at an elementary school in Connecticut earlier this month.
Walker has called for a moment of silence, a day of mourning and a possible mental health summit.
But don’t expect to hear anything from the first-term Republican governor that rankles the National Rifle Association.
Not after the gun-rights group bet on the Wauwatosa Republican in an especially big way this year.
The NRA’s political and corporate arms dropped $815,660 in independent expenditures in Wisconsin to help Walker defeat Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in an unprecedented recall election in June, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
On top of all that, the NRA Political Victory Fund gave $10,000 directly to Walker’s campaign, the single largest contribution made by the political action committee in 2012, says the National Institute on State Money in Politics.
Thanks to Republican lawmakers, predatory payday lenders are back in business in Wisconsin, and worse than before:
Many of the lenders have shifted from payday loans that were good for as little as two weeks to what they call installment loans - high-interest loans that don’t fall under payday lending regulations. Installment loans can have annual interest rates of 500% or more.
Gov. Walker's Son Registered to Vote on Election Day
Although Gov. Walker is now pushing to eliminate same-day voting registration in Wisconsin, he accompanied his son to the polls to register and vote on August 14th (the day of the GOP Senate primary).
If a man was to threaten someone else with bodily harm or death in this country, that man would be arrested, charged with any number of crimes and likely jailed. But I’ve found myself wondering, in light of recent events, that if the Governor of Wisconsin threatens to take away our residents’ most fundamental rights - rights for which Americans have risked their bodies and even laid down their lives - then should not our Governor also be arrested and jailed?
--Milwaukee Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, arguing that the continuing efforts of Republicans to suppress the right to vote is criminal. Read his entire statement.
Plea Hearing Scheduled for Former Walker Aide, Tim Russell
Former top Walker aide Tim Russell appears to have reached a plea deal related to his role in the ongoing John Doe probe into Walker’s former aides in Milwaukee County.
Gov. Walker Will Not Set Up Health Care Exchange in Wisconsin
Under the Affordable Care Act, each state can choose to create its own plan for implementing the health insurance exchange requirement, set up the exchange through a partnership with the federal government, or cede control to the federal government. Walker would prefer to let the federal government set up Wisconsin’s health insurance exchange.