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Aug 26, 201412:46 PMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

Should free-market capitalists enjoy the appearance of free speech?

(page 1 of 2)

If you really want to understand the yin and yang of campaign finance law, hire a $300/hour attorney specializing in the field. If you can settle for the gist, one need only understand that the voluminous laws and regulations amount simply to this: avoiding the “appearance of corruption.”

In what other field of endeavor is “the appearance” of something — rather than the act itself — cause for regulation? The Gang of Bad Guys was arrested Monday for appearing to rob a bank?

The chief investigator in the judicially discredited, secret John Doe II proceedings uses the “appearance” locution, as revealed in Friday’s document dump (recounted here).

“Because Wisconsin Club for Growth’s fundraising and expenditures were being coordinated with Scott Walker’s agents at the time of Gogebic’s donation, there is certainly an appearance of corruption in light of the resulting legislation from which it benefited.”

Stipulated: The Gogebic Taconite mine people donated $700,000 to Club for Growth. Stipulated: Scott Walker encouraged donors to make such donations. Stipulated: Club for Growth advocated for mining regulations reform that would promise and up or down decision instead of an infinity of court challenges. Argued: that no one was forced to make such a donation, absent evidence to the contrary. Which is notably absent. Argued: Candidate Tom Tiffany presented his pro-mining platform to the people of the north woods — next door to the proposed mine — and they elected him their state senator.

Does one suppose that Scott Walker is in actuality a tree-hugging, vegan socialist union organizer but now only appears to be a free-market libertarian after those damnable Koch Brothers made him sign a pact with the devil?

Put another way, if Blaska runs for elective office on a platform of complete citizenship complete with voting rights and food stamps for dogs, would it be surprising that dog lovers support his candidacy? Do farmers support farming? Bass fishers clear streams?

‘Bought and paid for’?

How dare conservative candidates take money from people who support them? One Scot Ross, major domo of that “dark-money” outfit One Wisconsin Now, “is attacking Republican candidates for taking money from people who support them,” according to our friends at MediaTrackers. Let them tell the story:

Ross tries to claim Republican politicians are bought and paid for by pro-school choice donors. … Claiming politicians like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and a host of GOP legislators have taken what OWN tries to present as dirty money, OWN does not offer a single name of what they view as the “pro-voucher cabal.”

But while OWN made no attempt to back up the claim, Media Trackers has uncovered facts that Ross and OWN will not likely be writing into a press release anytime soon. …

In the first six months of 2014 Burke also received over $165,000 — or more than twice what OWN claims Walker got from pro-voucher donors — from anti-voucher, public teacher, unions. Those union donations, in part, include:

Central Wisconsin UniServ Council — $40,000; Madison Teachers Inc — $15,000; Northwest United Educators — $10,000; National Education Association (Washington, DC) — $43,000; Wisconsin Education Association Council — $43,128.

In other words: If you believe that school choice helps students, the pro-choice candidates in the Republican tent are happy to see you. If you believe in the teachers union monopoly, give to Democrats. Let the people decide.

Scott Walker urged likeminded individuals to donate to Club for Growth, which — as its name suggests — promotes economic expansion. Scott Walker ran on a pledge of creating jobs (if we need reminding). That he might support a project that would create several hundred well-paying iron-mining jobs in Iron County should not be too surprising.


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Comments, page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 Next »
Aug 26, 2014 01:07 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I'm glad for the information. I think we're better off knowing than not knowing and I'm suspicious of those who would prefer that we don't know.

Aug 26, 2014 01:14 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Again you miss the point blaska,

walker did not run on implementing act 10.

yet, when he was elected he dropped a bomb.

integrity at it's best.

walker is a total problem, not a fix.

look at how much he spends in lawyer fees, to keep out of trouble.

integrity at it's best.

walker works for special interests.

not the people of Wisconsin.

integrity at it's best.

blaska's blog,

integrity at it's best.

Aug 26, 2014 02:07 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Yes, but after Walker dropped the bomb and after the occupation of the Capitol, and after all the whiny editorial hit pieces....Walker won the recall election. Blaska is right about the voters having the last say. Your little rant about integrity is just that, a rant. South of the border down Illinois way, the elected Democrats don't much cotton to this thing you call integrity. Democrats down there are used to seeing former governors wearing prison stripes.

Aug 26, 2014 02:55 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Dave, where do you draw the line? Should the mining company executives have just walked up to the GOP senators at the public hearing on the mine and stuffed envelopes with $100,000 in each of their breast pockets, with a wink and a "you're doing a great job" pat on the back? Would that just be an "appearance" to you? I don't think you need me to tell you that in politics, perception is reality. And your sleepy-eyed Boy Governor has every perception of being a totally amoral, lying, Nixonian ("$700,000? What $700,000?") crook. The stench from these guys makes my eyes water. Yet you defend it all. And try to come up with a response that doesn't include accusing me of character assassination - on behalf of every public school teacher in the state I'd like to point out your hands aren't exactly clean. You want the voters to be the ultimate judges? How can they be when they're spoon-fed lies and have no way of knowing who paid for that spoon?

Aug 26, 2014 03:13 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

anon 2:07

are you kidding me.

your retort makes no sense.

I am talking about walker, not democrats or republicans.

prove to me that walker has any integrity.

actually do you know what the word means?

I live and care about Wisconsin not Illinois.

also I care less about the recall.

walker bought that too

integrity at it's best.

Aug 26, 2014 03:32 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Where is the John Doe into the liberal supporting PAC's? Oh wait, Liberals aren't required to follow laws they disagree with, Don't have to use their brains for anything but repeating slogans (usually in vociferous groups opposed to something and trying to bully others with speech or force) and must be so far to the left, they're right all the time.
Personally, I'd like to park my tiny house in Anon 3:13 driveway for the winter..

Aug 26, 2014 04:20 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Anon 3:32,
There aren't John Does into liberal PACs because they know how to follow the rules. Conservatives think rules and laws are for losers. The rest of your screed only makes sense if you switch Left and Right. What a crazy reverse-world you 'Baggers live in!

Aug 26, 2014 04:31 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

anon 3:32

if you need too, park your house in my driveway anytime.

just be sure to shovel.

walker still is a loser no matter how you want to spin it.

Aug 26, 2014 08:12 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous


Just to point out that Taconite Tom's senate district is considerably east of the proposed mine. Bob Jauch is the Senator for the area in question. And his friends and neighbors re-elected him after he came out opposed to the mine. I sure this was just an oversight on your part and not an intentional or willful obfuscation of reality.

Aug 26, 2014 08:19 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Anon 3:13:

Talk about integrity: Hillary Clinton giving $300,000 speeches at state universities. Bill Clinton giving Marc Rich a pardon on his last day in office. Rod Blagojevich attempting to sell Barack Obama's vacant senate seat. Jesse Jackson Jr. (and his lovely wife) sentenced to prison for theft while in office.

And Scott Walker? Lengthy John Doe investigations resulting in a big fat goose egg for the hyper-partisan inquisition team. Union and lefty money pouring in to defeat him in the recall and he gets more votes the second time. All you folks have left is seething hatred. Hate will not win the election in November. The Five Percenters who will decide the election saw your hate and rants in the last cycle and they didn't buy your hard sell. They won't this time either.

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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