CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) has struck another blow for what is right. They are charging that Koch Henchman Scott Walker violated state law by sending state troops after missing legislator:
Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a non-partisan government watchdog group, asked the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board to investigate whether Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker violated state law by sending the Wisconsin State Patrol (WSP) to the home of Democratic Senate Leader Mark Miller. CREW also submitted open records requests to the Office of the Governor, Office of the Senate Majority Leader and the WSP seeking records regarding the use of the troopers.
In their letter to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board Melanie Sloan, Executive Director of CREW, says,
As you are no doubt aware, Republicans in the Wisconsin state Senate asked the state troopers to locate Sen. Miller after he and other Democratic senators left the state on February 17th to delay passage of a Republican bill to strip public sector workers of their collective bargaining rights and deny them certain compensation and benefits. Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Figtzgerald said he asked Governor Scott Walker to send troopers to Sen. Miller’s home to send a message to the lawmaker. Governor Walker agreed to dispatch the officers. Video of a state troops and another man, presumably Senate Sergeant-At-Arms Ted Blazel, arriving and knocking on the door of Sen. Miller’s home is available on the Internet.
Crew points out that “By sending members of the WSP to send a message to Sen. Miller, Governor Walker overstepped his authority and violated the law.”
The laws of Wisconsin are very specific as to when and why the WSP can be employed by the governor, such as civil disorder or threat to the safety of individuals, or a state of emergency, none of which applied. And the governor absolutely cannot employ the WSP “in any dispute or controversy between an employer and employee concerning wages, hours, labor, or working conditions.”
And of course, that is exactly what this dispute is about, as Senate Bill 11 makes clear: the “compensation and fringe benefits of public employees.”
Governor Walker is apparently no more aware of the law than any of the other new crop of Republican elected officials.
“Governor Walker has many tools at his disposal to fight the state’s public employees, but using troopers to track down a political opponent crosses the line. The governor’s conduct is especially egregious in light of a Wisconsin law specifically barring troopers from taking part in any dispute between an employer and employee over wages, hours, labor, or working conditions — the subject of the governor’s bill.”
In CREW’s letter, Melanie Sloan states that,
While Governor Walker and Majority Leader Fitzgerald may have legitimate political and policy concerns, those concerns do not allow them to violate the law by forcing state troopers to illegally intervene in an employment dispute with political overtones. As many across the nation watch the political gamesmanship in Wisconsin, the Government Accountability Board must act quickly and firmly to ensure all Americans that the abuse of law enforcement authority will not be tolerated and that even powerful political officials are not above the law.
By the way, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, the fellow named above as the individual who asked the governor to call on the WSP, is the son of Superintendent Stephen Fitzgerald, the head of the WSP. Superintendent Walker is also the father of state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald. Superintendent Fitzgerald took office on February 14, 2011, the same day Henchman Walker’s bill was introduced and just three days before Walker called on the troops for assistance.
Ms. Sloan asked, “Would Sen. Fitzgerald have had the nerve to suggest the WSP get involved if his father wasn’t running the agency? And wouldn’t a more independent superintendent have refused the request?”
Yeah folks, in case you’re wondering, there is nothing shady going on in Wisconsin. Nossir. Business as usual for the Republicans as they prove they can be more corrupt than any other political party in history.
Click here to read CREW’s letter to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.
Click here to read the open records requests.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, please visit www.citizensforethics.org or contact Garrett Russo at 202.408.5565 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 202.408.5565 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or firstname.lastname@example.org