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Elections, Elected Officials and Political Parties
Taxpayers Foot the Bill for Walker’s Campaign Travel PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Melissa Baldauff   
Friday, 10 April 2015 12:13

scott-walkerMADISON – Two months after a rolling blunder of a trade mission to the United Kingdom that saw Scott Walker “punt” on basic questions about science and refuse to talk to reporters, records indicate that taxpayers paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for the trip that was a thinly-veiled attempt for Walker to bolster his credentials on foreign policy as he campaigns for president.

Records obtained yesterday by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel show that Walker’s flagship jobs agency, the scandal-plagued Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, paid a total of $138,000 for Walker along with officials from WEDC and several state business leaders to travel overseas.

While Walker has defended his use of taxpayer funds, the Journal Sentinel writes of the trip, “For any potential political candidate, a trip abroad requires substantial resources both in dollars and in staff time setting it up. When those resources can be provided by taxpayers, it frees up political staff and funds for other priorities.”

In February, Wisconsin Democrats filed a complaint against Walker and his presidential campaign, Our American Revival, alleging that their use of state resources to fund what is essentially political travel constitutes an illegal political contribution of services belonging to the State of Wisconsin. The multiple violations alleged in the Party's complaint carry both criminal and civil penalties; some penalties are as high as $10,000 per violation, imprisonment not more than 3-1/2 years, or both.

Details on the cost of Walker’s first taxpayer-funded trip overseas came as Walker is again leaving the state for Europe on a trade mission to Germany, France, and Spain. Despite the trip being billed as an opportunity to "provide state companies with opportunities to establish and develop new partnerships overseas," the Associated Press is reporting that Walker is ending his participation in the trade mission early to attend a political event in New Hampshire with other likely Republican presidential candidates.

“Scott Walker spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds on a trip abroad to promote his presidential campaign under the guise of job creation and now he’s doing it again,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Communications Director Melissa Baldauff said Friday. “Meanwhile, Wisconsin has dropped to 40th in the nation in job growth on his watch, our middle class is shrinking faster than any other state’s, and his flagship jobs agency still can't comply with the law. Instead of spending taxpayer money on an overseas trip he’s ditching early for a presidential campaign event, Scott Walker should be here in Wisconsin doing the job he promised to do last November.”

Last Updated on Friday, 10 April 2015 13:58
 
Vote "No" on Supreme Court Referendum Question #1 PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Monday, 06 April 2015 12:42

money-behind-politicsTomorrow you’ll face a sneaky, underhanded referendum that would undermine our democratic process - referendum question #1 on the Spring Election ballot on how to choose our Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. We urge you to resist this crass political ploy by Partisan politicians and special interest money. Please vote NO on the referendum tomorrow, Tuesday, April 7.


MADISON - We rarely urge you to vote one way or another at election time.

But tomorrow you’ll face a sneaky, underhanded referendum that would undermine our democratic process -- referendum question #1 on the Spring Election ballot on how to choose our Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

For more than 100 years, that post has gone to the most senior member on the court, which is a wise and prudent procedure, which cuts done on infighting and jockeying and politicization. But now, because anti-democratic forces have a vendetta against Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, they’ve put a referendum before you to change that process so that a majority of the justices decide who is chief justice.

This is especially undemocratic because we, the Wisconsin voters, chose by a wide margin to reelect Chief Justice Abrahamson in 2009.

Now anti-democratic forces essentially want to repeal that vote and take that decision away from us.

We urge you to resist this crass political ploy. Partisan politics and special interest money have no place in our courtrooms.

Please vote NO on the referendum tomorrow, Tuesday, April 7.

 
Michigan Governor Uses Pardon for Connected Lawyer PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by GBP Staff   
Saturday, 28 March 2015 10:03

rick-snyder-mi-govLANSING – According to the Lansing State Journal on Friday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder used his pardon powers to erase the drunken driving conviction of a politically connected lawyer who was appointed to a state economic board in 2011.

Snyder followed the recommendation of the Michigan parole board and pardoned Alan Gocha Jr. in December, one of only 11 pardons out of roughly 750 applications since the governor took office.

Gocha applied in April 2012, less than four years after pleading guilty to driving while impaired in Oakland County’s Bloomfield Township. An agent conducted interviews and checked records before the file “was put on the backburner,” said Russ Marlan, a deputy director at the Corrections Department. But the board the next year encouraged Gocha to apply again, he said.

One of Gocha’s references was Bob LaBrant, a Republican strategist who is the Chamber of Commerce’s former lawyer and a Snyder appointee on the Michigan Employment Relations Commission.

Gocha gave $26,500 to the chamber’s political action committee from 2011 through 2013. He was general counsel for 5-hour Energy’s parent company, Innovation Ventures, until 2010 when the legal department became a stand-alone firm.

The primary client is Innovation Ventures, based in Farmington Hills. Records show Gocha’s firm also is the agent for ETC Capital, a private equity firm backed by 5-hour Energy’s billionaire founder, Manoj Bhargava.

ETC Capital last August gave $2.5 million to the Republican Governors Association, joining conservative billionaires Sheldon Adelson and David Koch on the list of top five donors to the group that worked to elect Snyder and other Republican governors, according to an analysis by the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity. That same day, the RGA paid $3.2 million to a media company to place ads backing Snyder’s re-election.

Eight weeks after ETC Capital gave $275,000 to the RGA in October 2013, the group gave $276,000 to the Michigan Republican Party.

“I had no idea that (Bhargava) was politically active. I had no idea that Gocha was politically active,” said Marlan.

Gocha was “just another person” and received no special treatment, Marlan said.

 
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