Few Republican Senators are as vile as Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson. Johnson, elected as a Tea Party darling in 2010, did everything he could to sabotage Barack Obama and has shown himself to be one of Donald Trump’s most loyal allies. By sheer coincidence, I’m sure, he has called for a renewed investigation of the phony, so-called “Burisma scandal” involving Hunter Biden—the day after Joe Biden won the South Carolina primary. (See the excellent front page story right here on DKos.) Well folks, that kinda gets my hackles up. Let’s look at two particularly awful and disgusting episodes in Johnson’s worthless, destructive career.
The Green Bay Diocese Pedophilia Scandal, and Ron Johnson’s Role in Burying It
From The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2010:
Prodded by a Catholic official, the Oshkosh businessman [Johnson] earlier this year jumped into the controversy over legislation aimed at making it easier for victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue their abusers.
Johnson, a Lutheran, sided with Catholic Church leaders in opposing the so-called Child Victims Act before a state Senate committee in January. The bill failed to win approval.
Here was the heart of his testimony:
"I believe it is a valid question to ask whether the employer of a perpetrator should also be severely damaged, or possibly destroyed, in our legitimate desire for justice."
Johnson had little to say about the victims of sexual abuse in his testimony. His was largely a financial concern.
He followed that up with this suggestion.
"This bill could actually have the perverse effect of leading to additional victims of sexual abuse," he argued, "if individuals, recognizing that their organizations are at risk, become less likely to report suspected abuse."
That argument doesn't sit well with victims of pedophile priests.
The specific controversy here involved the Green Bay Diocese. From TPM:
According to the 2004 John Jay Report, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Diocese of Green Bay received 59 allegations of sexual abuse by 35 diocesan priests during the 52 year period of the inquiry, 1950-2002.
Furthermore, the diocese is currently involved in two lawsuits, which, according to Reilly, is just the sort of potential liability the Church would bring to the attention of the council. “I also would say we have two lawsuits going on and depending on how they’re settled, depending on whether the judge rules in our favor and how the jury rules, this is the potential financial risk that might be out there in the future,” Reilly said. “In the case of the two litigations that we’re involved in right now, I feel very strongly that we are on the correct side of the truth, but I said to the council, I need to make everybody aware that there are two lawsuits coming on so it’s not a surprise. Nobody likes surprises.”
Johnson served on the Finance Council of the Green Bay Diocese from 2003 to 2010. At the time of his testimony, Johnson did not disclose that he served on the Diocese’s Finance Council. His testimony against the Child Victims Act had one overriding purpose: to make it harder to hold sex abusers accountable. The proposed law that Johnson helped defeat would have eliminated the statute of limitations for reporting and prosecuting these horrible crimes.
By way of Mad Dog Pac, I offer this video explaining the situation. (Warning: strong stuff if you’re a victim of sexual abuse.):
Despicable. Loathsome. Disgusting. I don’t know how else to characterize it. Johnson did do a turnabout and demanded reform in the Diocese, but he only did so five weeks before the election he won with 52%.
Johnson the Putin Enabler
Over the Independence Day holiday in July 2018, Johnson and seven other Republican lawmakers visited Moscow to talk to Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. Interestingly, there were no Democrats in the delegation. From Roll Call:
GOP lawmakers on the trip with Shelby include Sens. Steve Daines of Montana, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Jerry Moran of Kansas and John Thune of South Dakota.
Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, also joined the trip.
Why were they there? What did they say when they returned? One participant’s reaction in particular was interesting:
One of the Republican senators back from a trip to Moscow is suggesting that Congress went too far in punishing Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
“I’ve been pretty upfront that the election interference — as serious as that was, and unacceptable — is not the greatest threat to our democracy,” Sen. Ron Johnson said in an interview with the Washington Examiner published over the weekend. “We’ve blown it way out of proportion.”
...Johnson won re-election in 2016, with...Trump on the top of the ticket. He has said that the Senate may have gone too far with mandatory sanctions against a host of Russian entities, [my emphasis] leaving Trump with too little negotiating room on other matters. He also said the sanctions did not appear to be working as intended.
The Russian government was delighted with this, no doubt. They were also undoubtedly delighted at this:
Senate Vote 6 - Fails to Disapprove Deripaska Sanctions
The Deripaska in question is Oleg Deripaska, Russian aluminum king/oligarch/mobster, the same guy that had a relationship with Paul Manafort, Trump’s one-time campaign manager, the same guy who wants to build a new plant in Moscow Mitch’s state. The cloture vote required 60 votes. It failed, falling three votes short, 57-42. Forty-five Democrats and Independent Angus King, along with 11 Republicans voted for cloture. All 42 opposing votes were Republicans, including Johnson. [Note: Bernie Sanders did not vote on the resolution.]
And Russian state TV was ecstatic over this, posting a graphic of its Senate allies, which you can see here. Moscow Mitch is first, of course, but please note the Senator on the bottom row, second from the right. From The National Memo:
As investigative journalist and Russian media analyst Julia Davis first reported on Twitter, the hosts of the popular Russian state TV program “60 Minutes” used Thursday’s episode to highlight the move by Republicans, touting it as the first time since 2014 that the U.S. has lifted sanctions on Russia.
The show’s hosts, Olga Skabeeva and Evgeny Popov, “laugh[ed] out loud about the Democrats not getting enough votes to block the effort,” Davis reported. The pair then “expresse[d] hope that this is just the beginning” of sanctions relief now that the midterms are over and Republicans have maintained their majority in the Senate.
As Davis has noted previously, Russia experts believe the desire for sanctions removal was a key reason why the Kremlin rooted for Republicans to maintain their congressional majorities in the midterm elections last year.
So there we have Ron Johnson, folks, protector of pedophiles and enabler of dictators and gangsters. So when that sumbitch starts trying to stir up his bullshit Biden investigation, let’s remind him of all this.
Let’s talk back to him. Loud and long.
Real loud. And real long.