SAMPLE: WisPolitics THU PM Update

The WisPolitics PM Update is sent to Platinum subscribers each weekday between 4:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. The sample below was sent on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011
WisPolitics PM Update
4 August 2011

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-- Gov. Scott Walker said today the recall elections are “out of our hands” at this point, and he has faith in the state’s voters.

“I believe if given the facts they’re going to make good decisions,” Walker said after a ceremony opening the State Fair in Milwaukee. “Sometimes they’re going to be decisions that side with me, sometimes they’re going to be with others, but I’m going to respect their decision.”

Several weeks ago Walker said once the citizens of the state realized the sky wasn’t falling they’d begin to see the reasonable effects of the budget repair bill and the changes to collective bargaining.

“I think slowly they will see, and overall the school programs have gotten better,” Walker said.

Walker said he was aware of efforts to put new restrictions on recall efforts, but hasn’t specifically looked into it because “if I’m going to err, I’m going to err on the side of giving people more power.”

-- Walker gave a short address this morning to open the fair, but was drowned out at times by protesters chanting “shame.” One protester repeatedly called Walker a “weasel” as he left the stage, while another shouted “Sic semper tyrannis!” The phrase is Latin for "thus always to tyrants."

State Fair police didn't allow signs for or against Walker to be raised during the ceremony, which was attended by about 300 people.

-- Walker downplayed the protests.

“I don’t think 50 or 60 people disrupted this ceremony,” Walker said afterwards.

Most of the benches inside were marked reserved for those with invitations, and it was largely a pro-Walker crowd. But demonstrators were also allowed inside; more waited outside the gates of the pavilion.

Among the speakers was Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who said he’s been visiting some of the recall campaigns recently. “I’m hopeful about the recall efforts,” he said.

-- Walker attended the Republican Governors Association fundraiser at the Whistling Straits golf complex on Lake Michigan today after his appearance at the fair, a spokesman said.

-- Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who was also to be at the RGA event, will do a fundraiser tomorrow for AG J.B. Van Hollen.

The event is scheduled for 8 a.m. at the Milwaukee Athletic Club.

-- Wisconsin Right to Life says it did nothing illegal in offering gift cards to volunteers who persuaded like-minded voters to fill out absentee ballots in the recall elections.

Milwaukee County Assistant DA Bruce Landgraf said his office is looking into the gift card offer as well as get-out-the-vote block parties held by a union-affiliated group. That union-affiliated group offered free food and prizes as well as bus rides to vote absentee.

Landgraf said both raise questions under the state’s election bribery statute that prohibits giving an elector or a third party anything of value to induce that person to vote. Landgraf said that statute doesn't address paying people to register voters, and a GAB spokesman said that practice is legal so long as registrants are paid a salary and not per registration.

But Wisconsin Right to Life said in a statement today that national election law expert James Bopp Jr. examined its activity and found no violations.

“It is unfortunate that the intense feelings of some individuals involved in the recall elections could result in casting aspersions on the legal activities of responsible organizations like Wisconsin Right to Life," said Susan Armacost, the legislative and PAC director for the group.

See the WRTL statement:

-- GAB Director Kevin Kennedy said the agency has been in discussions with the state DOJ and the Milwaukee Co. DA's office about complaints arising from campaign activities in the August recall elections.

But he said the decision to investigate and prosecute any charges ultimately rests with DA.

See the GAB statement:

-- The GAB has dismissed a complaint One Wisconsin Now’s Scot Ross filed against state Sen. Luther Olsen, ruling there's no reasonable suspicion the GOP lawmaker violated the law by co-sponsoring a bill to allow Cooperative Education Service Agencies to establish charter schools.

Ross had accused Olsen of violating state law by co-sponsoring the legislation to benefit CESAs since his wife is the administrator of CESA 6.

But GAB Director Kevin Kennedy wrote in a letter that there's no allegation that Olsen’s wife would personally profit from the establishment of a charter school. Rather, the allegation is that Olsen’s actions would lead to a financial gain for an organization with which he is associated. Kennedy noted “organization” under the Ethics Code doesn't include a body politic, and CESAs are bodies politic.

“Thus, an official action that benefits a CESA (or a school district or other local government unit with which an official is associated), even one headed by the official’s spouse, does not violate the Ethics Code,” Kennedy wrote.

Read the letter:

-- The state Democratic Party today alleged that Sen. Alberta Darling has "coordinated illegally with right wing, corporate-funded special interest groups" following her office’s denial of an open records request from the party.

RPW executive director Stephan Thompson called the allegations ridiculous.

"Sandy Pasch desperately needs to distract attention away from her growing scandals, so DPW fired up its frivolous lawsuit machine," he said.

DPW Chairman Mike Tate said in a conference call with reporters that the River Hills Republican hasn't complied with an open records request filed July 13 seeking correspondence with a number of conservative groups, and that the delay indicates illegal activity "given the criminal investigations into these right wing organizations."

The party's complaint includes Darling, her Senate campaign, Wisconsin Right To Life and Wisconsin Family Action, along with Americans for Prosperity and the American Federation for Children -- whose email correspondence with Darling's Senate office was disclosed yesterday by liberal group One Wisconsin Now.

Tate said the complaint was filed with the Government Accountability Board, the Dane and Milwaukee county district attorneys and both of the state's U.S. attorneys.

"We have reason to believe her refusal to release these records ... indicates her intent to cover up her illegal activity," Tate said.

Darling's opponent in Tuesday's recall election, Dem Rep. Sandy Pasch of Whitefish Bay, has been targeted by collusion complaints this week over her position on the board of liberal group Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

See the DPW release:

-- A new ad from Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee features a Whitefish Bay teacher who says he's supporting Dem Rep. Sandy Pasch next week despite his past votes for her GOP opponent and the last three GOP presidents.

“To me, nothing is more important than education," Eric Christiansen says in the TV ad. "But Alberta Darling voted for budget cuts that hurt our community schools, all to give tax cuts to the rich and big corporations.”

See DFA/PCCC release:

See the spot in Ad Watch:

-- The unions threatened to make his life a “living hell” and come after him if he voted for Gov. Scott Walker's controversial collective bargaining changes, GOP Sen. Randy Hopper told conservative talk-show host Charlie Sykes in a recent interview.

Political insiders say unions and their allies could very well make good on that alleged threat and end Hopper's short political career in Tuesday's recall election in the 18th Senate District.

Hopper, a 45-year-old radio station owner, faces a recall challenge in the Oshkosh-Fond du Lac area from lawyer and former Oshkosh Deputy Mayor Jessica King, 36, who's back for a rematch after losing to Hopper by 163 votes in 2008.

Political handicappers figure she stands a better chance this time around as anger about collective bargaining stews in the public-employee heavy district and personal problems dog Hopper in the socially conservative district. Those problems, including a messy divorce and news his alleged mistress landed a high-paying administration job after he provided job-seeking tips to her, have made headlines and have been the focus of at least one ad.

King tells WisPolitics the dynamics are different this time around, with a host of new volunteers and an electorate she says has felt shut out of the decision-making process at the Capitol.

King notes that in the Winnebago County portion of her district one out of eight households has a public employee affected by the collective bargaining changes. She pointed out that in the city of Waupun, which houses a large prison, that she won by large margins during the primary against GOP “protest candidate” John Buckstaff in wards she lost in 2008 against Hopper.

“I think they're seeing that shift based on their economic interests and how they feel about the process, the lack of inclusion in the decision making, or just the basic providing people of notice about how things are going to impact their lives,” King said.

Hopper said he told Walker he would support the changes, despite the large proportion of public employees in the district.

"When the governor first came to us and told us about what his plan was, I said, 'Governor, I've always said it’s more important for me to do this job than to keep this job.' And given the makeup of my district, I said, 'Governor, Thank you for giving me the opportunity to prove that,'" Hopper said on a recent episode of “UpFront with Mike Gousha" .

Hopper noted that ads in the race haven't focused on collective bargaining. “The reason they are not talking about it is because it is starting to work," Hopper said.

He said the changes were about saving jobs, noting that school districts that have used the tools they were given haven't seen layoffs despite cuts in state aid.

See more from Hopper and King in a new WisPolitics profile of the 18th Senate District race:

-- State DOT today announced that all current DMV branches will remain open.

That comes after the proposed closure of as many as 16 DMV centers as part of a statewide consolidation plan that would also have expanded service hours for drivers' licenses and ID cards at nine other DMV locations in order to meet with requirements in the new voter ID law. The law demands that the service be "available in a cost-effective manner in every Wisconsin county."

Dems, however, charged that the changes were politically motivated and an effort to disenfranchise voters in Dem-leaning areas.

“This is good news for our customers. It will make it easier for those needing a driver license or ID card to obtain service,” DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb said in today's announcement.

In addition, the department will open new DMV centers in Viroqua, Alma, Fall Creek and Keshena, and expand drivers' license and ID card services statewide by 32,000 hours annually starting next year.

-- Rep. Andy Jorgensen, D-Fort Atkinson, told WisPolitics he didn't think the administration "expected this kind of outcry,” as he lauded the decision that maintains his local DMV branch in Jefferson County.

Jorgensen said common sense should have dictated that the state shouldn't shut down DMVs immediately after passing a voter ID law. Instead, he said the state should expand service even further, potentially including Saturdays as Indiana does under its voter ID law.

“That right there smells and you wonder why," Jorgensen said. "It just seemed to me that politics was at play.”

See the DOT statement:

See the Jorgensen statement:

-- Jack Jablonski has been appointed deputy secretary of the Revenue Department.

He has been the agency’s executive assistant since January and previously served as state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf’s chief of staff from 2001 through 2010, when he worked on Ron Johnson’s U.S. Senate campaign.

He replaces Kim Shaul, who left in May.

See the release:

-- U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is one of six Republicans to call for a new so-called super committee to meet in public as it works to find $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions.

The six raised concerns about the authority granted the joint congressional committee under the debt ceiling increase deal that passed both houses earlier this week; they asked Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to notify the public about all meetings, allow the public to attend and broadcast the meetings live on TV.

“We remain concerned that all aspects of the federal budget, including revenue increases, could be subject to the Committee’s recommendations,” the six wrote. “If our colleagues wish to raise taxes or propose spending cuts, the American people have a right to see that process unfold.”

Read the letter:\\

-- As the U.S. Postal Service considers closing as many as 41 post offices in Wisconsin, northern Congressman Sean Duffy says those cuts threaten the identities of the small, rural towns that would be affected.

"If you’ve been a member of a small community, you know that oftentimes your identity is tied up within your post office," Duffy, R-Ashland, told a Wisconsin Public Radio affiliate in Superior. "You may not have a police force but you do have your post office.”

The freshman Republican added that he doesn't consider the postal service "the fat" that needs to be trimmed in Washington, and that several of his House colleagues are backing legislation to keep the offices open.

See more in DC Wrap:

-- Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, has started circulating six bills for co-sponsorship, including tax exemptions for electricity or natural gas and for machinery used in manufacturing or biotech research.

See more bills below.

From ...

-- Stocks in Wisconsin companies were among those taking a big hit today as the Dow Jones lost 512 points, more than 4 percent of its value s investors feared another recession.

See more from BizTimes Milwaukee:


WISN: DMV centers to remain open

AP: Wis. DA investigating recall campaign claims

WRN: League will have recall observers

WRN: Jauch says public input vital on mining

Channel 3000: State Capitol worker charged in balloon spat

Channel 3000: State board to consider air pollution changes

WPR: Congress objects to Postal Service closure list

WPR: Politics infiltrate northern fair

CNN: Reid announces deal on FAA funding

CNN: Panetta calls possible forced cuts in debt deal 'unacceptable'

CNN: Unemployment claims at 400,000 level


Business Events

-- 8:30 a.m. -- Lake Superior Business and Technology Conference, Indianhead Technical College, 2100 Beaser Ave., Ashland

-- 9 a.m. -- Wisconsin Human Proteomics Symposium, BioPharmaceutical Technology Center, Promega Corporation campus, 5445 E. Cheryl Parkway, Fitchburg


-- 10 a.m. -- WISPIRG press conference, F.H. King Student Farm, UW-Madison

-- 11 a.m. -- Wisconsin Purple Heart Day Ceremony Wisconsin Veterans Museum Gallery, 30 W. Mifflin St., Madison

-- 12 p.m. -- Supermarket of Veterans Benefits, The National Guard Armory, 1420 Wright St., Madison

-- 12 p.m. -- Tea Party Express Pre-election Tour, Lakefront Park Bandshell, First St., Hudson

-- 1 p.m. -- Lt. Gov. Kleefisch tours Cambridge Major Labs, W132 N10550 Grant Drive, Germantown

-- 5:30 p.m. -- Tea Party Express Pre-election Tour, Copeland Park Oktoberfest Shelter, 1130 Copeland Park Drive, La Crosse

-- 5:50 p.m. -- Lt. Gov. Kleefisch addresses Waukesha Relay for Life, Waukesha West High School, 3301 Saylesville Road, Waukesha


Reps. Knodl, Klug, LRB 2470/1, to allow law enforcement or emergency response agencies to recoup costs related to false information provided to a law enforcement officer.

Rep. Kleefisch, LRB 0775/1, to prohibit a court from altering the framework of a premarital agreement as it pertains to property division and maintenance in an annulment, divorce or legal separation.

Rep. Kleefisch, LRB 0420/1, to exempt electricity and natural gas from the sales and use tax year-round.

Rep. Kleefisch, LRB 0390/1, to create property tax exemptions for machinery and other tangible property used for qualified research in manufacturing or biotechnology.

Rep. Kleefisch, LRB 0729/1, to prohibit a local government from restricting hunting with a bow and arrow within its jurisdiction.

Rep. Kleefisch, LRB 0404/1, to allow any law enforcement officer to arrest a person for violating a law that constitutes a civil forfeiture.

Rep. Kleefisch, LRB 0405/1, to require sex offenders to notify school officials in advance of arriving at any school building or appearing on school-owned property.

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