Mar 23, 2011

National Ethics Group: Wisconsin GOP Leaders Knew Using State Patrol Was Illegal

Justice and law under assault
Update II: No word yet on the legal consequences of the illegally using the Wisconsin state police for political purposes, but it appears the Democratic senators have cause for civil and criminal action.

Update: See also Emails show steps considered to punish Dems who fled state (Bauer, March 23; AP) The following (reported by Bauer) is not what we heard from the GOP during the period (Feb. 17-March 11,12) when Democratic senators worked to preserve workers' benefits and collective bargaining by denying a quorum by staying in Illinois. Walker, Fitzgerald, the whole bunch of GOP senators and reps are exposed again as liars. "The emails show that Fitzgerald's staff knew the state constitution barred them from actually arresting the senators other than for committing a crime or acts of treason. 'It now seems that monetary penalties and removal of privileges may be our only recourse,' Fitzgerald legislative aide Rob Richard wrote on Feb. 20, citing the constitutional prohibition on arrest."

Repeated deployments of the Wisconsin State Patrol are an illegal order that ought to have been disobeyed on that basis.

In the political reality in which a manifestly corrupt state government includes:
  • Wisconsin Republican legislative leadership
  • Governor Scott Walker
  • Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen
the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is performing watchdog duties that our state government not only refuses to carry out, but has acted in a premeditated program that has become a criminal enterprise.

"Several documents produced by Senator [Scott] Fitzgerald’s office clearly show his staff was well aware there was no legal authority to dispatch the troopers, and that doing so would have required - at the very least - an amendment to Senate rules. No legislative fix was ever passed, but the troopers were deployed anyway."

- From the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW):
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his Republican cohorts in the legislature have some explaining to do. The rookie governor rose to national fame after picking a bare knuckled political fight with Democrats over union rights. He showed up on our radar when he [Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald] illegally sent in the Wisconsin State Patrol (WSP) to search for the Democratic state senators who had fled to Illinois.

On February 23rd, we submitted open records requests to the Office of the Governor, the Office of Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and the Wisconsin State Patrol (which is headed by Sen. Fitzgerald’s father, Stephen Fitzgerald) asking for any records of communications regarding the decision to send troopers out after the legislators. Their responses were surprising.[And incriminating.]
Read just how incriminating, including letters to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB), complaints, exhibits and related documents.

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