Even More Wisconsin Corruption Charges
More developments came out of Madison yesterday as the hotly contested Wisconsin Supreme Court case remains unresolved and another of Gov. Scott Walker’s cronies faces felony election-fraud charges.
First the election. On Friday the state Government Accountability Board, the body responsible for monitoring election integrity, announced it sent staff to Waukesha County to look into the procedures that allowed for a 7000 vote swing and upending of results due to “human error.” So far reports indicate that gross negligence is more to blame than any criminal activity, but the investigation is ongoing. According to Reuters the results of the election will not be certified until the GAB has an answer.
Then yesterday, Democratic member of the county canvassing board, county Democratic vice chair Ramona Kitzinger released a statement that seriously calls into question her corroboration of the events in the county.
The statement can be found here.
What’s clear is that, on paper, the numbers appear to match. But what is not as clear is how those vote totals were tabulated and why no one would have caught an error like leaving off the entire city of Brookfied, for example.
And if it is the case that no one can vouch for the integrity of the process of tabulating votes other than Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus (R) then Wisconsin is in a very tricky spot constitutionally and any certified results would almost certainly face a due process challenge, tying the results up in litigation for the foreseeable future.
In other corruption-related news, on Monday railroad executive and Gov. Walker donor William Gardner was charged with two felonies for making illegal campaign contributions. Gardner is the head of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad and is accused of one count of making an excessive donation and one count for unlawful donations.
Gardner has already admitted using company money to reimburse employees who donated to Walker’s campaign and Walker has already returned $43,000 in illegal contributions from Gardner.
These latest revelations only make the shadow cast over the legitimacy of Walker’s union-busting effort darker. So far Walker, like Kasich and the other Republican governors pushing similarly extreme right agendas have danced to the same tune: corrupt ties to corporate interests, a refusal to conduct state business in a transparent and democratic fashion and a willingness to play fast and loose with election laws and procedures.
And don’t forget to include the harassment campaigns targeting public intellectuals and political dissenters.
Whatever legitimacy these governors, and Walker in particular, could claim for their agenda has been eradicated by their open embrace of some pretty fascist principles. Let’s hope our democracy can recover.
For more on the events in Wisconsin and elsewhere, click here.
photo courtesy of marctasman via Flickr