Update: I'm putting it up here because the diary is really, really long. There's fresh new information on the John Doe Probe (including video of a news conference) here. End of update.
Update 2: I added video from The Ed Show on MSNBC at the bottom of the story about the felony arrests of Walker aides.
Wow, this is a long one, because there is a whole lot happening. And there's lots of breaking news (look towards the end). I started writing this since I'm down with flu and have been adding to it since yesterday. And today, holy cow!
Do you remember the fake recall filed with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board on November 4th? Briefly, a Walker campaign contributor filed paperwork to recall in order to initiate the start of unlimited fundraising by Scott Walker. Of course, Walker and the GOP denied there was any planning or coordination of this, but....
Well, that recall is over. Died quietly without any funds being collected for the recall or any signatures being gathered. Because it was fake to begin with.
A Republican campaign contributor has quietly ended the first recall effort filed against Gov. Scott Walker.
The effect of the recall committee created on Nov. 4 and then quietly terminated was to give Walker an the opportunity of an extra week and half to raise campaign contributions with no limits that can be used to help defend the governor against the more serious recall attempts that were begun by Walker opponents on Nov. 15.
The fake recall, reportedly to "fullfill the last request" from a friend was all about Walker being able to raise unlimited money.
In Wisconsin, gubernatorial candidates normally can't raise more than $10,000 from a single contributor during a four-year election cycle. But a quirk in state law removes those limits during the first part of recall elections.
Since the recall efforts started, Walker has raised as much as $250,000 from a single contributor.
Of course, Walker has been all over the country raising funds since the protests began. And he's been aided by astroturf groups buying tens of millions in ads so he's had to touch little of the money he's raised.
In other news you can use:
Milwaukee Journal Sentinal going behind a paywall
The RW leaning Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is about to go all paywall on us unless we subscribe either to online content or the newspaper itself. It's arrogantly comparing itself to the New York Times in doing so (no, I'm not kidding).
The Journal Sentinel is following in the footsteps of major papers like the New York Times, as a way to keep the news flowing and the business alive.Betsy Brenner of the Journal Sentinel told TODAY'S TMJ4...
This RW leaning rag comparing itself to the New York Times? Bwahahahaha!
Anyway, I subscribe to the Sunday edition, so I registered as suggested. According to the article, 20 articles per month are allowed for free so you Kossacks will still be able to get in to the linkies that get posted.
No recall signature updates will be given
I kind of hoped that this would be the case.
The Wisconsin Democratic Party says it will not be releasing any more updates on how many signatures have been collected to recall Gov. Scott Walker from office until the petitions are submitted Jan. 17.
Thuggery from Walker supporters has only increased every time a new total has been announced. There will be a final total given when the petitions are submitted January 17th.
Recallers have been asked to turn in any outstanding petitions by January 13th so they can be checked, verified and databased in time for submission to the GAB.
State Supreme Court Justice Gableman still flailing
Justice Gableman, whose successful and racist campaign for a State Supreme Court seat drew ethics charges on electoral misconduct (which went nowhere because the State Supreme Court deadlocked 3-3 on a political basis) is now is facing the heat because he has continued to hear cases (and rule favorably on every one) presented by the law firm that defended him free of charge (that law firm now represents the Walker Administration).
The law firm that represented him on the ethics case has recently and very quietly withdrawn from representing him again this time. But, fear not, he has a new, shiny, high priced Washington DC lawyer who has started to make the rounds on local RW talk radio shows, but has declined other requests for interviews.
Here's the money line from the January 4th appearance on RW Charlie Sykes program:
“He has done absolutely everything right and there is no need for him to abstain in cases where Michael Best appears before him,” Dinh said of Gableman.
Of course! Getting represented in a serious legal matter (for free) and then hearing important cases brought by the same law firm and always ruling in their favor is a mere coincidence! Nothing to see here, folks. These aren't the droids you're looking for.
Stay tuned. This could have some serious impacts on union stripping and other Walker crap that our 4-3 RW court has decided upon.
More Gabelman News
Breaking News! The Wisconsin GOP thinks Gabelman shouldn't have to recuse himself from hearing the state redistricting case in front of the Wisconsin State Supreme Court even though it's being represented by the same law firm that gave him services for free.
In fact, they feel so strongly about Gabelman hearing the case, they've hired a new lawyer to represent the case (instead of the ones that provided the free service to Gableman).
The GOP group brought two cases over the matter and then recently dropped Michael Best as its attorney. The Democratic recall groups have said Gableman should step aside in the cases because of Michael Best's prior role in them.
But Michael Dean, the new attorney representing the Republican group, said Wednesday that there was no need for Gableman to recuse himself.
Walker getting ready to give State of the State speech
It will be January 25 at 7 PM in the State Assembly chambers where it is normally held.
My crystal ball tells me we're going to hear about how well all the Walker changes are going and how much better the state is doing now.
Note to self: stock up on popcorn and liquor.
Wisconsin Redistricting Revelations
We all know about the GOP gerrymandered districts that were passed by the GOP dominated legislature. Through the court challenge, we're finding out how much input was provided by the national GOP rather than localities. A more fleshed out version of the case and revelations can be found here.
The GOP redistricting plan is being challenged as unconstitutional and will be heard by a 3 judge panel in February. Witnesses and others are currently being interviewed and depositions being taken. This has been very revealing.
In his testimony, Foltz (Foltz is an aide to Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald R, Wingnuttia) disclosed that he provided copies of the legislative and congressional maps to Mark Jefferson and Mike Wild at the RNC before they were passed. Wild is on the RNC's redistricting committee. Jefferson is the Midwest regional director for the RNC, a position he took this summer after serving more than four years as the executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party.
Foltz said he provided the maps to the RNC at the direction of legal counsel before they were passed. Lawmakers have retained the firms Michael Best & Friedrich and the Troupis Law Office for work on the maps, and they have committed $400,000 in taxpayer money to cover those expenses.
Remark in italics is my addition.
Remember the firm of Michael Best is the one that represented Gabelman for free (small revolving world, isn't it?).
Top Republicans have been mum about how they drafted the maps, saying they were keeping quiet because they knew litigation was inevitable. In the depositions, some details have trickled out, though those giving testimony were repeatedly told by their attorneys not to answer many questions, the more than 750 pages of testimony show.
They held the maps in secrecy until they introduced the legislation in July and rammed them through the legislature just ahead of the State Senate recall elections.
For further information and discussion, please see Giles Goat Boys excellent diary.
John Doe Investigation
This is what I wrote last night as I was compiling this (couldn't sleep because of miserable flu.
Nothing, nada, zero. I'm hoping for something soon.
Well, ask and you shall receive.
3 people have been charged with felonies including a top aide for Scott Walker.
Tim Russell, a longtime Walker campaign and county staffer, was charged with two felonies and one misdemeanor count of embezzlement. One source said the charges are tied to Operation Freedom, an annual military appreciation day held at the zoo.
In 2010, Walker's county administration had asked prosecutors to investigate what had happened to $11,000 raised in 2007 for the event.
Russell's attorney, Michael Maistelman, could not be immediately reached for comment.
Also charged Thursday was Brian Pierick, Russell's longtime partner and a staffer at the state Department of Public Instruction, and Kevin Kavanaugh, Walker's appointee to the Milwaukee County Veteran Service Commission.
Kavanaugh is charged with five felonies for theft and fraudulent writings by a corporate officer. He was the treasurer of the Milwaukee Purple Heart chapter at the time of the dispute over the $11,000 for Operation Freedom.
Pierick, 48, was charged with two felony counts for child enticement. He is an office operations assistant at DPI dealing with education for homeless children and youth, according to the agency's website.
Walker spokesman Chris Schrimpf had no immediate comment on the news but said the office would provide one later in the day.
Apparantly a lot of this goes back to 2006 when members of the Milwaukee County Board ethics committee began asking questions, but were rebuffed with promises by Walker.
Update: See top of diary for fresh new link and video.
Update: Coverage on the Ed Show, MSNBC
(My apologies for the ad at the beginning and for the MSNBC linkies that were posted below the video. I didn't see a way to remove either one.
Walker's New Shiny Ad
Hang on to your lunch. He's slinging the BS pretty hard in this one.
He forgot to mention we're Number One. In job losses. And he hasn't added teachers. Or firefighters. Or police officers.
To see the full takedown of this ad, please visit the diary of Mike Tate (he's a Kossack now, yeah!), Chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party.
To see his other ads, please visit my previous diary containing all his ads to date.
Scott Walker is in Washington DC Today
He's been talking to a DC think tank, the RW American Enterprise Instituteabout the recalls.
He whined about expecting a recall election early in June and that his opponent would be "someone hand picked by the unions". He added:
Walker said the biggest reason he had been targeted for recall was that union dues can no longer be automatically deducted from the paychecks of public-sector employees.
"I think at the end that's what all the focus around here in Washington, in terms of the national unions focused on getting me recalled," Walker said. "What it really comes down to, I took away the gravy train, the free money they had before and gave that right back to the workers to make that decision."
He offered a contrast between the deficits, tax increases and job losses of the past against "a much more optimistic, better approach that we're headed on and we're going to expand on in the future."
Walker also defended raising out-of-state cash to bolster his campaign for the recall.
"I wouldn't be raising a penny right now if it wasn't for these recalls, largely driven by the national unions," he said.
Bwahahahahaha! He's been raising money outside the state since the protests began!
But here's where he gets truly offensive:
"Collective bargaining in the public sector is not a right, it is an expensive entitlement," Walker said.
Of course, he's got it upside down and twisted to meet his ideology and that of his corporate masters. He also claims that people are "tired of all the elections" and attack ads (of course, the attack ads are all done by his RW supporters).
Anyway, that's all I have for you this time. Enjoy and stay active in reclaiming democracy.