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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wisconsin Government Infected With Political Equivalent of Emerald Ash Borer


By Roger Utnehmer

All three branches of Wisconsin government continue to be infected with the political equivalent of the emerald ash borer. The Supreme Court, the Legislature and the Governor’s office are under the influence of far too much special interest money and the corruption it breeds.

Our state Supreme Court refuses to adopt rules that would require justices receiving significant sums of money from special interests to recuse themselves from voting. When cases impacting those donors come before them, justices who benefit from massive expenditures should not vote on the case. An IQ exceeding room temperature is not required to question if a justice benefiting from millions of dollars of campaign spending really will be objective when voting on matters that impact the donors. It appears that special interest groups have discovered it is easier to buy a Supreme Court than a legislature.

The Speaker of the Assembly, Robin Vos, took a four-day trip to London in 2017, accompanied by and paid for in part, by lobbyists for the pay-day loan industry. Vos claimed he did not discuss pay-day loans with industry lobbyists on the trip. A junket paid for by the insidious industry that preys on the poorest among us smells worse than the stale cigar smoke surrounding their secret deal-making meetings.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Stronger Judicial Recusal Rules Vital for an Impartial State Judiciary



By Jay Heck

Wisconsin, from statehood in 1848 to about a decade ago, in 2007, had a national reputation for having among the most respected, impartial, non-partisan, fair and trusted state court systems in the nation. Much of this was because there was a generally-held belief among all Wisconsinites of all political persuasions and ideologies that the courts should be “above politics as usual.” In order to maintain the confidence of the citizenry, judges and justices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court had to be scrupulously non-partisan and impartial and not be perceived as having been compromised by outside lobbying pressure, campaign contributions, or other political influence.

For decades, this standard not only survived, but flourished and as recently as the early 2000’s the Wisconsin Supreme Court was held up by legal experts across the country as the “gold standard” for how Justices should be elected and serve once in office in a state supreme court. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals, the 72 county circuit courts and the hundreds of municipal court judges also were perceived as having the highest standards for impartiality, non-partisanship and fairness across the state. And while Wisconsin legislators fell into public disrepute in the aftermath of the worst political scandal in the state in a century – the Legislative Caucus Scandal of 2001-2002, the reputation of state courts were not only unaffected by the legislative scandal, but enhanced in their execution of equal justice under the law.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Time to Defend Our Democracy



By Cal Potter


Russia extensively meddled to influence our political and social views, shown through thousands of social media/internet posts, many paid for in Rubles. This tactic is illegal, a modern attack on our nation, and the political hacks who aided and abetted this effort are also guilty of a crime.

Putin and his oligarchy cronies have stolen billions of dollars from the Russian economy, diverting and laundering that treasure via foreign banks and investments. This theft is tragic for the Russian people, and a crime. Those who helped in this heist in any manner also engaged in criminal activity, and should be held accountable.

The Mueller investigation into the above is essential for the rule of law and defense of our democracy. Failure to thoroughly investigate and prosecute these illegal acts would be a despicable derelict of duty, and disrespect of our national heritage.