Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What Blacklist Are You On?

Yesterday, Scott Walker was chosen for jury duty. The defendant in the case turned out to be an insurance company whose CEO contributed $2000 to Scott Walker's political campaign.

We learned today that Scott Walker informed the judge of the contribution - which is good - because he was then chosen as an alternative juror and never deliberated on the case.

Most people - except real maroons - thought the contribution was enough to disqualify him from the case or at least provide grounds for appeal by the plaintiffs.

$2000 isn't a nothing contribution to just one guy. Only 0.08% of the entire population contribute more than $200 and 0.01% give more than $2600.00.

Money has influence and courts have long recognized this. It is certainly why Walker chose to notify the judge in this case and it is certainly why he was designated as an alternate juror.

It's an interesting occurrence given that certain members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court have refused to recuse themselves from cases in which campaign contributors have come before the court - either as attorneys or named parties.

In 2010, it was Pat Roggensack who voted with 3 other conservative judges - Prosser, Gableman and Ziegler, and pushed through what is known as the "Roggensack rule" - meaning campaign contributions aren't enough to alone cause judicial recusal.

Justice wept.

The Governor thought it was an issue, the court made him an alternate, preventing him from deciding on the case - but the conservative wing of the Wisconsin Supreme Court disagree, and rule on cases in which parties have written them checks. Not very consistent is it?

Money is so influential, it is the reason campaign contributions are public information and limits are put on how much one can give a politician.

Back before the holidays, when the Siren and Purple Rayne wrote how 97% of all contributions made to the Racine Tea Party PAC were made by 7 super wealthy people, some of them and/or their family members were very angry and threatened us with litigation and revenge.

Dude! It's public information.

If you don't want your company associated with funding the Tea Party, then don't fund it.

Recall signers have grown accustomed to having their position on the Governor and his cohorts used against them personally and professionally - even though not a penny exchanged hands when signing a recall petition.

Dan Bice just wrote a piece about a magazine article critical of Cathy Stepp by an author who conceded from the beginning to her editor she signed a recall petition. Even though everyone involved agreed her research was thoroughly vetted and she presented all points of view - Bice seems to indicate her motives were suspect because of her personal, constitutional - and completely free - decision to petition her government against the Governor who was NOT the subject of the article.

We have no big answers here, but money is money. It's not very complex.

Everyone it seems is on some kind of blacklist. It could be a campaign contribution, it could be CCAP, or it could be a recall petition. It's a temptation to say they are all the same - but keep in mind - no one made an online database of all the people who signed recall petitions against Democrats.