This afternoon, Sen. Dan Kapanke challenged the recall petition against him, and requested that the recall be voided.
Although his campaign is currently only challenging a comparatively small (913) number of the actual signatures, he is claiming that the recall itself did not follow the proper procedures, and that the signer of the intent to collect signatures was not the same person who registered the recall committee.
I find myself somewhat bewildered by this claim, since it would appear to me that most of the recalls currently underway would also be ineligible if this claim is correct. My layman's reading of the recall rules would lead me to believe that this is grasping at straws.
Supreme Court Justice David Prosser has been trying hard to distance himself from Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans, despite his years as a GOP officeholder and his declaration that he wants to "complement" the work of Walker and the GOP legislature.
How's that going? Here's what he was doing today, according to a GOP Facebook page: 3rd District Republican Party of Wisconsin Justice Prosser will be speaking from 10:30am-11:30am.
Kapanke Campaign Headquarters, 58 Copeland Ave, La Crosse
Despite Sen. Alberta Darling and others saying that a provision in Gov. Scott Walker's "Budget Repair Bill" allowing Walker to sell state-owned power plants in a sketchy no-bid process was removed because it was clearly a fiscal issue and required the 3/5 quorum for approval, Sen. Dan Kapanke is now claiming that it was done because the GOP Senators stood up to Walker and shot it down.
In a 3/14/11 school board meeting Holmen Wisconsin, where Kapanke was a guest of the board, he was grilled on the subject by school board member, (and rising star), Anita Jagodzinski:
Jagodzinski: Since when did the power plant part get taken out, and its changed? Who said that? When did that happen? Whose decision was that?
Kapanke: That was a decision actually by the state senate who said, "this isn't happening." That's why.
Republican state senators were part of a “backroom maneuver” that “demolished collective bargaining,” and now are silent about Gov. Scott Walker’s devastating two-year budget which “continues the assault on the middle class,” a series of new television commercials says.
Walker wants to cut $900-million from schools, the deepest cut in state history; and slashing SeniorCare that 90,000 seniors need; devastating middle class families while cutting $100-million in taxes for the wealthy and big corporations, the commercials say.
And the five Republican senators spotlighted in the commercials are silent on Walker’s plans, the ads say, ending with an appeal to the senators, “Stop turning your back on middle class families.”
The commercials, running statewide, spotlight State Sens. Albert Darling, Sheila Harsdorf, Dan Kapanke, Randy Hopper, and Robert Cowles. All voted for Walker’s budget repair bill that stripped public employee unions of nearly all of their collective bargaining rights, rushing to pass it with tactics that are being challenged in court as illegal.
The commercial, by the Greater Wisconsin Committee, an issue advocacy organization, began airing on Saturday, the group’s executive director, Michelle McGrorty said.
“The budget battle is far from over, ” McGrorty said. “The two-year budget Walker has proposed is not only devastating, but will affect every middle-class or lower income family in the state negatively. It piles one damaging cut on top of another. We hope some Republicans will come to their senses and see what damage this does to the people they are supposed to represent. ”
The commercials, aimed at specific senators in different media markets, direct people to a new website, www.stopwalkersbudget.com for more information on how to get involved.
The NRCC has decided to go on the attack against Ron Kind in Wisconsin, making a last-minute $150,000 media buy. An even more recent set of attack ads has come out in the last day, playing on TV and coming in the mail to people in our part of the state. The new ads claim that Ron Kind has been involved in a pay-for-play scheme against Oakleaf Surgical Center in Eau Claire. This was recounted recently by Dan Bice in the Journal-Sentinel. The state Republican party has also constructed a new web site at http://www.wrongkind.org/ covering this and other allegations (note that some of their links to proof seem to not work - that's less than convincing).
If you live in my part of the state you've seen the recent spate of ads attacking Ron Kind. Ron Kind may not be exactly my sort of Democrat in some ways, but he's been in many ways a good reliable Democrat, and has had a very good record on a number of issues, including the environment. And I don't think much of anyone sees him as anything but a straight shooter, even if they may disagree with him from time to time.
Except the 60 Plus Association, which has been funding these ads. And almost identical ads against Steve Kagen over on the other side of the state. Mind you, these ads are not much different than a lot of the ads we're seeing this season - "too liberal, voting for health care reform, voting with Pelosi ". You know, acting like a Democrat. The shame!
Sunday's La Crosse newspaper carried a letter from Dan Kapanke, begging Ron Kind to keep the campaign clean. The message here appears to be that the Kind campaign shouldn't mention issues that raise doubts about the suitability of Kapanke for higher office, because that's playing dirty politics.
The ethics issue over Kapanke's nonprofit foundation, and his use of some of the money for private debt repayment has been covered here previously, and a series of possible ethics lapses on Kapanke's part can be seen here. Kapanke's defense of the ball-park lighting situation seems to be that this wasn't a "slush fund", that he didn't know that what he had done was illlegal, and that as soon as he realized his mistake, he paid back the money.
In an inteview today in the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, Dan Kapanke admits to having made two payments from his charitable foundation totaling about $32,000 to pay off a personal debt. (note that this article is only fully available to Leader-Telegram subscribers). Previously only one of these payments had been reported. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin has filed an ethics complaint with the Government Accountability Board regarding these payments. In the article Kapanke admits that making the payments was a mistake. Or perhaps more accurately, two mistakes.
The other day, Michael Horne reported that the DPW was suing State Senator Dan Kapanke for failing to fully comply with a open records request for his emails and other documents regarding using state time, staff and equipment for a campaign event.
Mr. Horne then followed up on the story and found that Kapanke was lying through his teeth regarding getting the go ahead to use the campaign money for these events. Turned out he didn't ask about using campaign money, but corporate funding instead, and even then was told that he couldn't.
Kapanke, apparently thinking he could head an implosion off by taking action, went himself to the GAB, and only ended up throwing one of his staffers under the campaign bus.
I wonder if Kapanke thinks that he is now off the hook. If he does, he is about to be subjected to a very rude awakening.
Michael Horne, intrepid reporter and author of Milwaukee World, is reporting that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is suing State Senator Dan Kapanke for violating campaign laws:
The party also alleges Kapanke failed to fully comply with its request for communications about the event by his political staff members. [The party had in its possession, an e-mail composed by a Senate staffer on state time inviting legislators to participate in the event. That would be an illegal use of state resources, if the event were indeed to be found to be political in nature. However, that same e-mail was not included in Kapanke's response to the public records request, as one might expect.]
The suit also asks for staff time records and much other data, presumably to see if Senate staff members were on the state's clock while working the event. Kapanke didn't hand that stuff over, either. In an August 3rd, 2009 final demand letter to Kapanke, Attorney Michael Maistelman wrote "Your failure to follow Wisconsin law is because to do so would reveal even more serious violations on your part."
Make sure to read the entire post, including the addenda and updates, as well as the comment thread.