Does simply investigating whether a political crime occurred violate the First Amendment rights of the suspect? Presidential hopeful Scott Walker's allies say yes. What will the courts say?
The Joint Finance Committee of the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature has agreed to a set of changes to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), including a provision to fire its Chairman of the Board - Governor Scott Walker.
The secretive and scandal-plagued WEDC, conceived by Walker as a replacement for the state's commerce department and organized four years ago as a "public/private" corporation, was supposed to be the flagship agency to help Walker fulfill his 2010 campaign promise of 250,000 new, private-sector jobs in his first term.
Not only has Walker failed on his jobs promise (the state only added about 129,000 new jobs during Walker's first term), his pet agency has seen a number of CEO's come and go after a continual lack of results and accountability.
The latest setback for WEDC was the release of a report by the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau that "found WEDC hasn't tracked job creation or complied with state law."
this came up while scanning the Journal Sentinel
Walker Appointed himself to run WEDC when he created it in 2011 to replace the old Department of Commerce. To say that WEDC's history is troubled is an understatement. Of the nearly 1 billion dollars in funds it has doled out, almost 60% have gone to companies or people who have supported Walker. it has failed to comply with state laws, keep track of funds (to the tune of 10s of millions of dollars) and ensure the companies money has bveen given to are qualified for the money.
MY thoughts below the Rolled up orange-pink slip
The latest audit was another bombshell in the history of the agency created by Walker in 2011 to "create jobs". Walker has "created" only 129,000 new jobs in Wisconsin despite his campaign promise to create 250,000 (yeah, that's kind of what happens when you ruin a state economy).
A Little History is Needed
When he bought the Governors seat in 2010 with $100 million in Koch money, one of Scott Walkers first actions (yes, budget gutting and union busting did come first) was to get rid of Wisconsins' Department of Commerce. Instead, he set up a quasi-private agency called the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). He appointed himself to chair the agency.
Right from the start, WEDC started to smell as cronies were hired, loans and subsidies were given to businesses (mostly Scott Walker donors), and transparency was virtually eliminated. Later audits discovered that nobody, I mean NOBODY, was monitoring the results of all those tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money.
WEDC routinely lost track of loans it made, whether loans were repaid, or whether any jobs had been "created" as required by those loans and subsidies. In short, they basically gave the money out as gifts to predominantly Walker donors. They routinely "wrote off" those loans.
Audit after audit shows the same corruption and the latest one tells of WEDC giving the money to a failing construction company (Walker donor) that fails and then WEDC lost (claims they can't find) any of the original loan payments. After the shit hit the fan again, Walker declared WEDC would simply stop giving loans (frankly, I think Walker donors have had enough pay back for their "investments" in him).
On Tuesday, he endorsed a so-called "report to deport" policy, in which the undocumented must go back to their country of origin in order to apply for citizenship.
First, he supported granting citizenship to the millions of undocumented workers already in the country. Then he was opposed to it and acknowledged that his position had changed. Then there were reports that he had privately expressed support once again. Now he wants all undocumented workers to return to their home countries and legally apply to enter the U.S. -- and has suggested further limits on legal immigration.But Shifty Walker assured Fox News host Bret Baier Tuesday that none of this amounted to flip-flopping.
“A flip would be someone who voted on something and did something different," Walker said. "These are not votes... I don’t have any impact on immigration as a governor. I don't have any impact as a former county official. I would be if I were to run and ultimately be elected as president."Okay, now we get it. If you haven't voted on it, it doesn't count.
So essentially, unless he's taken a vote on it, old Shifty can't be held accountable for anything that comes out of his mouth. His words, not ours.
Reading this list from the Wisconsin DHS https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/... just makes me angrier the more I look at it.
It's inconsistent (you can buy fresh sweet potatoes/yams but not canned for instance) and obviously shows a lack of imagination on the part of the writers. No jarred/canned spaghetti/pizza/lasagna sauce, no ketchup, no soup....I purchase the spaghetti sauce and use it as a base for a number of other dishes including goulash and chicken cacciatore. No soups so no tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, at least not purchased with WIC. You can buy 3 or 5 ounce cans of tuna, but not the big ones, the smaller costing more per ounce, of course.
The writers of these guidelines have never had to come home from work and make a meal. Spaghetti sauce, which can stretch a pound of hamburger to feed a whole family, really needs to simmer for a couple of hours to taste right. I like to take it and add any leftover meat from the week with some onions to it, that last slice or two of roast, that chicken breast, the pork chop, you know, the leftovers there isn't enough of for a meal. Chunk it up, add it to onions and the sauce, add a can of diced tomatoes and serve over pasta. Takes about 30 minutes to throw together.
No nuts allowed on that list so there goes nuts and some cheese for an after-school snack.
I realize that this list is for the WIC (women/infants/children) program, but how long do you think it's going to be before they try to apply it to SNAP benefits as well?
Wisconsin, wake up and smell the coffee. Get some real people that have to live on these benefits rather than ivory tower nutritionists that don't have to worry about how much they spend on food and have the time to actually cook rather than come home to a hungry family.
Yes, I've been on SNAP benefits. I was unemployed and they kept food on my table. I'm disabled now and without SNAP, I'd not have much variety in my diet.
The legislators don't get it. They've obviously never had to depend on these benefits. They also need to quit believing the less than 1% that are abusing the benefit represent the other 99%. I guarantee you that users are currently going a bit short starting this month so they have the benefits to cover Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
I can also guarantee that IF someone use benefits to purchase steak and shellfish, they most probably saved up a bit each month for a planned special dinner. No way I'd use half my month's benefits for one meal. I could, however, not spend the full amount, since the money carries over, and "save" up for special occasion.
Click here to donate to Feingold's campaign:I’ve got some great news -- my friend and middle-class champion Russ Feingold announced he wants to come back to the Senate.
The Koch brothers, Karl Rove, and their many allies probably won’t think this is great news. Russ has always been a crusader against outside money in politics. And they’ll probably show their displeasure by spending money -- likely many millions of dollars -- to beat Russ.Russ needs to build a strong grassroots network -- and he needs it right now. Let’s help him get his campaign off the ground. Contribute $5 or more.
The opportunity to add a strong progressive like Russ to the Senate is huge. He cast the lone Senate vote against the PATRIOT Act. He was an architect of landmark campaign finance legislation in 2002 and has experience to be an invaluable ally in the effort to end Citizens United.
And when outside groups spent $40 million against me in 2012 -- Russ was there to help us fight back.
Right now Russ has the momentum. We need to help him capitalize on his exciting entry into the Wisconsin Senate race. Let’s give Russ’s campaign a huge grassroots boost.
Outside groups and super PACs are going to do everything they can to keep Russ out of the Senate. Let’s make sure we’re doing everything we can to get him there.
Make a kickoff contribution to Russ Feingold. Give what you can today.
Haven't seen this in a diary yet, so here's a short one on a bit of news. (Where are you, puddytat??)
All of us in Wisconsin who lose sleep thinking that Scott Walker may spend and slime his way into the Republican presidential nomination -- and beyond -- have been keeping an eye on the continuing saga of the "John Doe" court cases against him. Today he was set back in his expensive and never-ending effort to weasel his way out of the arms of justice.
My long sleeves are rolled up exactly 3 times to ensure that the message that he's a hardworking guy doesn't get missed by his audience. Suit coats and jackets are forbidden because they don't convey the "I'm ready to work" image Walker is projecting. He can't have the peasants knowing or even thinking that he's a lifelong career politician.
We've been hard at work for months. I felt bad at being left at home when Walker went to all those foreign countries. He wanted the "important politician suit and tie look" for those visits. Or, perhaps they don't get fooled by the "just a regular guy look" that works so well here in the US.
I've been travelling through the country visiting the peons in early Republican primary states. I'm really bored with Iowa. Not much to see there, but plenty of people that need to be hustled into supporting and voting for Walker, so we're there a lot.
Washington DC Visit
Today, we were in Washington DC. I was actually worn with a suit and a different dark red tie while he rubbed elbows with fellow Republicans, lobbyists, evangelical leaders, and campaign donors at the National Republican Club of Capitol Hill. You can see my picture associated with the linked article (don't I look nice?).
Speaking briefly to a reporter, Walker said the discussion with House members was wide-ranging. He said he talked about what life might be like with a GOP president to go with a GOP Congress.No, he hasn't officially announced he's climbing in the Clown Car with the other Republican wanna-bes, but nobody doubts he will just as soon as his big bag of campaign loot is filled up. After his official announcement, you see, campaign finance rules kick in. He doesn't like rules.
"Instead of them playing defense, we could do positive things going forward," said Walker.
The governor said meeting with Republican lawmakers from around the country was helpful to him because of the role so many states — not just the early states — will play in the allocation of delegates.
"A lot of states later on in the primary process have proportionate allocation (of delegates) so if we get in, it would be nice to have that kind of support," he said.
The event was not a fundraiser, but attendees were handed a summary of the perks associated with various levels of giving; the top category, for $1 million givers, comes with twice-a-year retreats, private briefings, weekly email updates, members-only conference calls, a dedicated staff contact person and two private dinners with VIP special guests.Oh, yeah, Walker is well known to richly reward his campaign "investors". Just look at what he does for them with WEDC (see below).
More words of insanity from one of the most vulnerable Tea Part U.S. Senators:
But wait, there's more:Sen. Ron Johnson, the Homeland Security Committee chairman, says when it comes to a nuclear deal with Iran, he’s “not so sure” he trusts President Obama over the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“Now, a President who was awarded the 2013 Politifact Lie of the Year, if you like your healthcare plan you can keep it, period. If you like your doctor you can keep it, period. They lied boldfaced to the American public repeatedly with Obamacare,” the Wisconsin senator said at a recent town hall in Cerdarburg, Wisconsin.
“I don’t know, I hate to admit it, but in terms of this framework, do I trust President Obama, or do I trust the Ayatollah? In terms of what the framework actually says? I’m not so sure I’m trusting President Obama on this.” - BuzzFeed, 5/19/15
Can't wait for Russ Feingold (D. WI) to take back his Senate seat? Click here to donate and get involved with his campaign:While discussing the nuclear deal the U.S. is negotiating with Iran, Johnson told his constituents about disagreements between the U.S. and Iran on certain details..
"Discrepancies—Secretary Kerry, President Obama saying, 'Oh we can inspect anywhere. This is totally verifiable. Totally be able to hold them accountable.’ And the Ayatollah goes, ‘Well, yeah, you can inspect, just not on military bases,'" Johnson said. "Now if you’re going to have a nuclear weapon program I don’t know, I think I put it on a military base, and we can’t even get in there and inspect."
"10,000 kilograms of uranium. President Obama says, ‘well that’s going to get shipped out.’ The Ayatollah goes, 'no it’s not,’'" Johnson continued. "Sanctions. 'We’re not going to lift those until they adhere to the terms of the agreement.’ The Ayatollah goes, ‘no those get lifted immediately.'" - TPM, 5/19/15
Excellent reporting this weekend from the Wisconsin State Journal digging into one particularly jaw-dropping $500k loan made by Scott Walker's Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). The loan ended up being a total loss for the state, and serious questions are being raised about why Secretary of Administration (and former Assembly Speaker) Mike Huebsch personally lobbied so hard for Building Committee, Inc. (BCI) to get a loan (he was actually pushing for a $4.3M forgivable loan!) despite its history of not paying its taxes, vendors, or employees. Could well-timed donations to Walker and other Republicans have had something to do with it?
I highly recommend that your read both of these articles in their entirety:
- Top Scott Walker aides pushed for questionable $500,000 WEDC loan
- Company that received state loan exhibited signs of financial trouble
Using these two articles and publicly available court and campaign finance records, I put together a little timeline of this ill-fated loan and its well-connected deadbeat recipient (see below the orange thing).
UPDATE 5/18/15 10:20pm - As Jake Formerly of the LP points out in the comments, be sure to check out this new article from the Journal-Sentinel that reveals a letter written on Walker's behalf (and CC'd to Walker) by WEDC CEO Paul Jadin just 10 days before the loan to BCI was finalized:
Jadin said in his letter of intent that he was writing "on behalf of Governor Scott Walker" and noted "cc: Scott Walker, Governor" at the bottom....Before we dive into yet another sordid chapter of miserable failure at WEDC, let's not forget about Kestrel Aircraft playing WEDC against its counterpart in Maine, Plexus and Eaton Corporation both taking WEDC money and then shipping jobs overseas, Ashley Furniture being awarded tax credits allowing it to cut 1,900 jobs, and WEDC funds disproportionately going towards GOP legislative districts. And then there was that time when WEDC just kind of forgot about their loan portfolio for over a year.
"In closing Governor Walker and I are firmly committed to doing everything possible to expedite the processing and awarding of this incentive award," Jadin wrote in the letter.