Complaints Filed Against Five Wisconsin GOP Legislators For Unreported Contributions
It was about a week ago that I started a new project (more on this later). Watching committee meetings over the past few weeks, as I have, would be enough to make anyone raise an eyebrow. But two bills in particular caught my eye, demanding further investigation. I am talking about Senate Bill 292 and Assembly Bill 196. Senate Bill 292 is a bill to change current campaign finance laws so that employer and occupation are not required for contributions over $100 as they are now. This bill is a horrible piece of legislation authored by Glenn Grothman. The reason Glenn wanted this bill in the first place was so that he could prevent boycotts. As I mentioned in my public testimony on the bill, our country was founded, in part, by boycotts.
Senate Bill 292 was a clear jab at transparency. Assembly Bill 196 , however, is not as clear. It is, however, much more important. The author of the bill (introduced as being authored by JCRAR), Representative Ott, introduced the bill in a way that made sense to everyone. Ott should get credit, however, for his sales skills are excellent. Much like a used car salesman selling you a lemon, Ott had the ability to turn even the worst of bills into something that seemingly palatable. In fact, he went on and on about a law that anyone who puts more than $25 into politics needs to file with the GAB. Now don’t get me wrong, I think we can all agree it is silly to make a person file with the GAB simply for spending $25. But much like they did with Voter ID they are taking a non-existent issue and using it to pass a horrible bill.
Last year, this same committee passed Assembly Bill 7 (which became Act 23). This bill made it harder for disabled, elderly, minority, and the homeless to cast a ballot. It also made it so that not a single student who goes home in the summer can vote in the primary. In fact, the creator Jeff Stone, even admitted this. All of this because they found just a few cases of voter fraud, all but three which were unintentional and the bill did nothing to fix. Needless to say voter fraud is not an issue and never was. But how do I know that farmers and people aren’t being charged for making home-made signs or even spending over $25 in gas to protest? One phone call to the GAB and that was cleared up. Every GAB complaint is discussed by the board. If an individual complained about an individual not registering but spending, say $50, on a light up sign. The GAB would deem that not an issue and the complaint would be dismissed.
In normal circumstances we could be patient. We could even potentially ignore a bill at this stage as there is no Executive Session scheduled. But these are not normal circumstances. This is nothing short of a nationwide fascist regime constantly at battle with the interests of the people. This is a time when bills can pass in mere days. When notice means practically nothing and a bill can go from committee to signing in under two weeks if desired. Further, the battle started here, in Wisconsin. I could think of no better place than here for any of this to happen. For here in Wisconsin we don’t take getting attacked very well. What the people of Wisconsin have done and continue to do would have been considered impossible just a year and a half ago. And every attempt they have made to divide us has failed. We band together here in Wisconsin and we hold them accountable. Last night I found out about the public hearing on Assembly Bill 196. I then finished my project, an Excel workbook and five Word documents.
As Executive Director of the Defending Wisconsin Political Action Committee and as someone who has been there watching their every move, I came to a realization. It is not enough to go to public hearings and play defense. And so I decided, from now on, when I go to a committee meeting, I will bring with me a complaint for any and every breach of law and public trust I can find. Today it was this committee. Fortunately for Chairman Tauchen and Representative Pridemore, their last couple years of reports were clean. Unfortunately for Representatives Bernier, Stone, and Weininger this was not the case. In this project I used Chapter 11.06 of the Wisconsin State Statutes, specifically (b). What this statute says is that all contributions over $100 in a YEAR (cumulative) from any person require occupation and place of employment as well. Although it may be hard to believe, there was actually a time, pre-Walker, when Wisconsin really cared about elections. We prided ourselves in transparency and were viewed as a nationwide leader in clean and fair elections.
The current regime, however, does not seem to take that same view. This really showed when three out of five of the committee Republicans failed to report some of these contributions. Representative Bernier had one violation, Weininger had two, and Stone had five. Each violation carries a penalty of $500. I had the complaints notarized and submitted and disbursed them to the Representatives during my testimony. I also took the liberty of sorting through the campaign finance reports of Representative Robin Vos (ALEC State Chair) and Representative Bill Kramer (Speaker Pro Tempore). Kramer had six improperly reported contributions while Vos had 28. What was also interesting in several reports were hundreds of small donations of $2.00 or under that came from Kwik Trip employees. Defending Wisconsin PAC remains committed to promoting transparency in our elections and securing our them as well. In time we will go through every report, but for now we have five verifiable complaints. Also, anyone who wants can copy the complaint, attach your name, get it notarized, and file a complaint yourself. And we will continue fighting. One day longer! One day stronger!
Defending Wisconsin PAC
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Note: Segway Jeremy Ryan has become a full-time member of the protests at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Formerly a businessman, he gave up his business to join the fight for the middle class in the State of Wisconsin. Through videos and writings he has informed hundreds of thousands of people about what was going on at the Wisconsin State Capitol once the mainstream media had mostly abandoned the protests. His full-time activism is completely funded by the people. If you would like to help out please click here.