Wisconsin Supreme Court FINALLY Stops Nazistic John Doe Investigation Against Conservatives

Wisconsin Supreme Court Stops John Doe Investigation Against Conservatives – Legal Insurrection

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The Wisconsin Supreme Court has effectively killed the “John Doe” case which led to home raids and intimidation of a wide range of Wisconsin conservative activists.

The decision is embedded at the bottom of this post.

Here is the key finding, which completely shreds both the legal theories and motives of the prosecutors, completely vindicates the targets, and praises those who fought back legally against prosecutorial misconduct (emphasis added):

¶133 Our lengthy discussion of these three cases can be distilled into a few simple, but important, points. It is utterly clear that the special prosecutor has employed theories of law that do not exist in order to investigate citizens who were wholly innocent of any wrongdoing. In other words, the special prosecutor was the instigator of a “perfect storm” of wrongs that was visited upon the innocent Unnamed Movants and those who dared to associate with them. It is fortunate, indeed, for every other citizen of this great State who is interested in the protection of fundamental liberties that the special prosecutor chose as his targets innocent citizens who had both the will and the means to fight the unlimited resources of an unjust prosecution. Further, these brave individuals played a crucial role in presenting this court with an opportunity to re-endorse its commitment to upholding the fundamental right of each and every citizen to engage in lawful political activity and to do so free from the fear of the tyrannical retribution of arbitrary or capricious governmental prosecution. Let one point be clear: our conclusion today ends this unconstitutional John Doe investigation.

Andrew Grossman, who filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case and who has served as counsel to Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth (two of the targets of the investigation) in various federal civil rights litigation against the prosecutors, provided me with the following statement:

Today’s decision puts an end to one of the worst abuses of power ever seen in Wisconsin law enforcement. The next step will be holding those responsible accountable for their actions. The Court’s recognition that the John Doe was a politically motivated “dragnet” of Gov. Walker’s allies provides strong support for Cindy Archer’s civil rights action against the Milwaukee prosecutors and lawsuits by potentially any of the other John Doe targets.

Background on John Doe abuses:

We have been covering the John Doe cases for a year and a half. You can read all out posts in the John Doe (WI) Tag.

Here are some key posts:

* Revealed: Wisconsin John Doe investigation was full-blown anti-conservative fishing expedition
* Exposed: How Prosecutors targeted Scott Walker and conservatives
* Was Prosecutor’s union-operative wife behind “John Doe” investigation of Scott Walker?
* Wisconsin “John Doe” War on Walker wins “Nastiest Political Tactic of the Year”
* Wisconsin Dems used battering rams against Scott Walker supporters – literally
* Former Scott Walker Aide Sues prosecutors for WI John Doe “Home Invasion”

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Analysis:

The court found that Wisconsin statutes did not limit “issue advocacy,” and that any attempt to so limit speech was unconstitutional:

¶7 We can resolve the original action, Two Unnamed Petitioners, by first examining whether the statutory definitions of “committee,” “contributions,” “disbursements,” and “political purposes” in Wis. Stat. §§ 11.01(4), (6), (7), and (16) are limited to express advocacy[4] or whether they encompass the conduct of coordination between a candidate or a campaign committee and an independent organization that engages in issue advocacy. Second, if the definitions extend to issue advocacy coordination, what then constitutes prohibited “coordination?”

* * *

¶41 We turn first to Two Unnamed Petitioners, the original action filed with the Wisconsin Supreme Court. This case requires us to interpret Wisconsin’s campaign finance law, Wis. Stat. Ch. 11. By its very nature, this task involves fundamental questions regarding the scope of the government’s ability to regulate political speech. To resolve this case, we must engage in statutory interpretation of the phrase “political purposes,” which includes all activities “done for the purpose of influencing [an] election.” Wis. Stat. § 11.01(16). We conclude, consistent with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 3 of the Wisconsin Constitution, that the plain language of “political purposes” in Wis. Stat. § 11.01(16) is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague if it is not given a limiting construction and applied to only express advocacy and its functional equivalent. This conclusion invalidates the special prosecutor’s theory of the case and ends the John Doe investigation. Therefore, we agree with the Unnamed Movants and grant their requested relief.

The Court ripped into the investigating prosecutors (emphasis added):

¶68 Having reached our conclusion about the scope of conduct regulated by Chapter 11, we now turn to the special prosecutor’s theories of coordination and whether the alleged conduct is regulated under Wisconsin law.[23] The special prosecutor has disregarded the vital principle that in our nation and our state political speech is a fundamental right and is afforded the highest level of protection. The special prosecutor’s theories, rather than “assur[ing] [the] unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes desired by the people,” Roth, 354 U.S. at 484, instead would assure that such political speech will be investigated with paramilitary-style home invasions conducted in the pre-dawn hours and then prosecuted and punished. In short, the special prosecutor completely ignores the command that, when seeking to regulate issue advocacy groups, such regulation must be done with “narrow specificity.” Barland II, 751 F.3d at 811 (quotations omitted).

¶69 The limiting construction that we apply makes clear that the special prosecutor’s theories are unsupportable in law given that the theories rely on overbroad and vague statutes. By limiting the definition of “political purposes” to express advocacy and its functional equivalent, political speech continues to be protected as a fundamental First Amendment right.

The court made clear the investigation was stopped cold in its tracks:

¶76 To be clear, this conclusion ends the John Doe investigation because the special prosecutor’s legal theory is unsupported in either reason or law. Consequently, the investigation is closed. Consistent with our decision and the order entered by Reserve Judge Peterson, we order that the special prosecutor and the district attorneys involved in this investigation must cease all activities related to the investigation, return all property seized in the investigation from any individual or organization, and permanently destroy all copies of information and other materials obtained through the investigation. All Unnamed Movants are relieved of any duty to cooperate further with the investigation.

The Court went on in addition to uphold a lower court’s quashing of a subpoenas and search warrants sought by the prosecutors, finding that the John Doe powers did not allow “a fishing expedition”:

¶91 Reasonableness and particularity are not just requirements of search warrants, however. Subpoenas issued by courts, and by extension John Doe judges, must also satisfy these requirements of the Fourth Amendment. In re John Doe Proceeding, 272 Wis. 2d 208, ¶38. A John Doe proceeding, with its broad investigatory powers, must never be allowed to become a fishing expedition.

¶92 It is difficult, if not impossible, to overstate the importance of the role of the John Doe judge. If he does not conduct the investigation fairly, as a neutral and detached magistrate, the risk of harm to innocent targets of the investigation-and we remain mindful that all such targets are presumed innocent-is too great. Through the use of a John Doe proceeding, “law enforcement officers are able to obtain the benefit of powers not otherwise available to them, i.e., the power to subpoena witnesses, to take testimony under oath, and to compel the testimony of a reluctant witness.” Washington, 83 Wis. 2d at 822-23. Such powers, if not wielded with care and skill may serve to transform a John Doe proceeding into an implement of harassment and persecution by a vengeful or unethical prosecutor. Thus, John Doe judges must be mindful of this danger and zealously guard the rights of all citizens against over-reach.

The Court then summarized its holdings, just so there was no doubt that it had completely rejected the prosecutors’ legal theory on coordination of issue advocacy (emphasis added):

¶133 Our lengthy discussion of these three cases can be distilled into a few simple, but important, points. It is utterly clear that the special prosecutor has employed theories of law that do not exist in order to investigate citizens who were wholly innocent of any wrongdoing. In other words, the special prosecutor was the instigator of a “perfect storm” of wrongs that was visited upon the innocent Unnamed Movants and those who dared to associate with them. It is fortunate, indeed, for every other citizen of this great State who is interested in the protection of fundamental liberties that the special prosecutor chose as his targets innocent citizens who had both the will and the means to fight the unlimited resources of an unjust prosecution. Further, these brave individuals played a crucial role in presenting this court with an opportunity to re-endorse its commitment to upholding the fundamental right of each and every citizen to engage in lawful political activity and to do so free from the fear of the tyrannical retribution of arbitrary or capricious governmental prosecution. Let one point be clear: our conclusion today ends this unconstitutional John Doe investigation.

¶134 In Two Unnamed Petitioners, we hold that the definition of “political purposes” in Wis. Stat. § 11.01(16) is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 3 of the Wisconsin Constitution because its language “‘is so sweeping that its sanctions may be applied to constitutionally protected conduct which the state is not permitted to regulate.’” Janssen, 219 Wis. 2d at 374 (quoting Bachowski, 139 Wis. 2d at 411). However, a readily available limiting construction exists that we will apply and that will prevent the chilling of otherwise protected speech; namely, that “political purposes” is limited to express advocacy and its functional equivalent as those terms are defined in Buckley and WRTL II. With this limiting construction in place, Chapter 11 does not proscribe any of the alleged conduct of any of the Unnamed Movants. The special prosecutor has not alleged any express advocacy, and issue advocacy, whether coordinated or not, is “beyond the reach of [Ch. 11].” Barland II, 751 F.3d at 815. Accordingly, we invalidate the special prosecutor’s theory of the case, and we grant the relief requested by the Unnamed Movants.

¶135 To be clear, this conclusion ends the John Doe investigation because the special prosecutor’s legal theory is unsupported in either reason or law. Consequently, the investigation is closed. Consistent with our decision and the order entered by Reserve Judge Peterson, we order that the special prosecutor and the district attorneys involved in this investigation must cease all activities related to the investigation, return all property seized in the investigation from any individual or organization, and permanently destroy all copies of information and other materials obtained through the investigation. All Unnamed Movants are relieved of any duty to cooperate further with the investigation.

Wisconsin Supreme Court – John Doe Decision

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Looks Like Lois Lerner May Have Been Behind Targeting Of Conservatives In Wisconsin

Oh My. It Looks Like Lois Lerner May Have Also Been Behind Conservative Targeting In Wisconsin – Poor Richards News

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Remember those horrifying police raids in Wisconsin a while back? With no hyperbole, it was modern-day tyranny that should have incensed the entire nation, regardless of political affiliation or viewpoint. Instead, very few ever even heard about it. Why? Because progressives were the perpetrators and conservatives were the targets. The raids were part of a so-called “investigation” of conservatives who were supporting Scott Walker.

Well new email evidence suggests that Lois Lerner may have been in cahoots with a Wisconsin official regarding the investigation.

From the WSJ:

Wisconsin’s campaign to investigate conservative tax-exempt groups has always seemed like an echo of the IRS’s scrutiny of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. It turns out that may be more than a coincidence.

Former IRS tax-exempt director Lois Lerner ran the agency’s policy on conservative groups. Kevin Kennedy runs the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) that helped prosecutors with their secret John Doe investigation of conservative groups after the 2011 and 2012 recall elections of Governor Scott Walker and state senators.

Emails we’ve seen show that between 2011 and 2013 the two were in contact on multiple occasions, sharing articles on topics including greater donor disclosure and Wisconsin’s recall elections. The emails indicate the two were also personal friends who met for dinner and kept in professional touch. “Are you available for the 25th?” Ms. Lerner wrote in January 2012. “If so, perhaps we could work two nights in a row.”

This timing is significant because those were the years when the IRS increased its harassment of conservative groups and Wisconsin prosecutors gathered information that would lead to the John Doe probe that officially opened in September 2012. Ms. Lerner’s lawyer declined comment. Mr. Kennedy said via email that “Ms. Lerner is a professional friend who I have known for more than 20 years” but declined further comment.

Read the Rest (H/T: NRO)

There are dozens of current and former federal, state and local employees who should be in jail right now because of this. Chief among them? Lois Lerner. But I’m not going to hold my breath.

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New Wisconsin Budget Repeals University Tenure

Walker Wins: New Budget Will Repeal University Tenure – Daily Caller

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is poised to win a huge victory on education as the state legislature passed a budget that repeals state tenure guarantees while also slashing the budget of the University of Wisconsin.

The victory was enunciated by the acquiescence of the university, which recognized its defeat by passing a spending plan that implements Walker’s cuts. All that remains is for Walker to consummate his victory by affixing his signature to the budget.

The two-year, $73 billion budget approved Thursday makes a host of changes Walker has sought in the realm of education. Wisconsin’s school voucher program is expanded, and $250 million in funding is taken from the University of Wisconsin. That’s down from the $300 million cut Walker originally sought, but still a substantial haircut.

Bowing to the fait accompli, later on Thursday the University of Wisconsin approved its own budget, implementing the big cuts expected of it. About 400 positions will be laid off or will go unfilled, and the university’s budgets no money for pay hikes. The school’s situation is made tougher because the legislature has also frozen in-state tuition.

While academics have accused Walker of sabotaging the school’s competitiveness, Walker has refused to yield, arguing that professors should be teaching more classes.

Walker’s push to slash spending at U-Wisconsin has received the most press, but his push to alter tenure may have the biggest long-term implications. Until now, tenure for professors at the University of Wisconsin has been protected by statute (Wisconsin is the only state with such a law). Now, that protection has been eliminated, leaving it up to the school’s board of regents to decide whether professors have tenure.

Not only that, but tenure itself has been weakened so that it doesn’t offer the protections it once did. Previously, only “financial exigency” (an urgent budget shortfall) could justify the firing of a tenured professor. Now, tenured professors may also be laid off whenever it is “deemed necessary due to a budget or program decision regarding program discontinuance, curtailment, modification, or redirection.”

The budget also rolls back the principle of “shared governance,” in which faculty are given heavy leeway to control the governance of their own departments. Instead, faculty are assigned a primary advisory role for helping the chancellor.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank sent a letter to Walker Friday begging him to veto the changes, saying they would drive away current and prospective faculty.

“Over its 165-year history, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has built an international reputation for the highest quality research and teaching,” said Blank. “For us to attract and retain the best faculty in the global higher education marketplace, it is imperative that UW-Madison not be seen as offering a less attractive package than can be found at our peer institutions.”

But given that rolling back tenure is Walker’s idea in the first place, a veto at the eleventh hour is a very unlikely concession.

Angry faculty have directed a great deal of venom toward Blank and the UW board of regents, accusing them of letting the tenure provisions pass by failing to make a loud protest.

Walker is expected to sign the budget by Monday, when he is scheduled to officially announce his presidential campaign.

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Leftist Prosecutors In Wisconsin Employing Gestapo Tactics Against Conservatives (Video)

Wisconsin ‘John Doe’ Investigations Are Harassment – Investors Business Daily

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When Cindy Archer heard yelling and pounding on her front door in Wisconsin, she thought at first it was someone trying to break in. She soon discovered it was the police. Her crime? Her political beliefs.

Archer wasn’t the only one. As documented in a riveting piece by David French in the National Review, the same story played out a number of times in Wisconsin. The common thread? All the people subjected to the paramilitary-style abuse were conservatives.

In Archer’s case, she had the grave misfortune of being one of the main forces behind Wisconsin’s Act 10, which changed public-employee unions’ collective-bargaining rules and cut public employee benefit growth.

Others, such as the Wisconsin Club for Growth, had similar profiles of conservative activism in a state that proudly styles itself as politically progressive.

And some made the apparently unforgivable mistake of backing Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who enraged state liberals by facing down the public employee unions that were destroying the state’s finances.

In most of the cases, the victims’ treatment was the same: rude, Gestapo tactics with orders barked angrily by Wisconsin police or state officers at people in their own homes, followed by the humiliating demand that they say nothing to anyone about the raid and warnings to not contact an attorney. The officers scooped up personal cellphones, computers and other personal items, and left without explanation.

“Yes, Wisconsin,” wrote French, “the cradle of the progressive movement and home of the ‘Wisconsin idea’ – the marriage of state governments and state universities to govern through technocratic reform – was giving birth to a new progressive idea, the use of law enforcement as a political instrument, as a weapon to undo election results, shame opponents and ruin lives.”

More troubling is the veil of secrecy that’s been pulled over these assaults, which violated the sanctity of people’s homes and privacy.

Under Wisconsin’s “John Doe” law, a prosecutor who gets a judge’s approval can launch a highly secretive investigation of possible wrongdoing – one in which the targets have few if any ordinary rights.

So much for the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable search and seizure. And so much for the presumption of innocence.

The tactics used in the investigations read more like something East Germany’s Stasi would do than anything here in America.

What’s worse, these highly unusual tactics came from the office of one man: Democrat Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm, a longtime political foe of Walker whose wife was a steward for a teachers union.

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Another Win For Walker – Wisconsin Voter ID Law Stands As USSC Rejects Appeal

Wisconsin Voter-ID Law Stands As Supreme Court Rejects Appeal – Bloomberg

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The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for Wisconsin to implement a voter-identification law that opponents say is one of the strictest in the nation.

Rejecting without comment an appeal by civil rights groups, the justices Monday gave a victory to Republicans, including Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who have championed voter-ID laws around the country. Wisconsin is one of 30 states with ID laws and one of 17 that enacted measures since the Supreme Court upheld an Indiana statute in 2008.

Civil rights groups say ID requirements disproportionately affect minority and low-income voters while doing little if anything to protect against fraud. The organizations pressing the Wisconsin appeal said 300,000 registered voters in that state lack a qualifying ID.

“The right to vote is the foundational element of American democracy,” the groups argued. “Increasingly restrictive voter ID laws like Wisconsin’s Act 23 unjustifiably burden the voting rights of millions of registered voters, particularly African-Americans and Latinos.”

Wisconsin officials led by Walker, a potential presidential candidate, defended the law. They argued that it will impose a minimal burden on voters while providing more assurance of a fraud-free election.

‘Overwhelming Majority’

“In Wisconsin, as elsewhere, the overwhelming majority of voters already have qualifying ID,” Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel argued. “For those who lack ID, obtaining one and bringing it to the polling place is generally no more of a burden than the process of voting itself.”

In a statement Monday, Schimel said the voter-ID law won’t take effect for an April 7 election for judicial offices because absentee ballots already have been sent to voters.

“The voter-ID law will be in place for future elections,” he said.

In October the Supreme Court blocked the Wisconsin law from applying to the Nov. 4 election. A lower court had revived the law weeks earlier, and civil rights groups told the high court at the time that hasty implementation would mean widespread confusion.

Lower courts have largely backed voter-ID laws. In a notable exception, a federal trial judge said Texas’s statute was the product of intentional discrimination. That case is now before a federal appeals court and could make its way to the Supreme Court before the 2016 election.

2014 Election

Unlike with Wisconsin, the Supreme Court let the Texas law take effect for the 2014 election.

In the latest Wisconsin appeal, groups led by the League of United Latin American Citizens argued that the 2011 state law violated the U.S. constitutional guarantee of equal protection and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Wisconsin’s law lets voters use any of eight forms of identification, including in-state driver’s licenses, state-issued photo IDs for non-drivers and military IDs. The state also accepts some student identification cards, though not those from the University of Wisconsin campuses.

A federal trial judge invalidated the measure, saying it would deter many residents from voting. The judge also said the state hadn’t pointed to any recent instances of voter impersonation in Wisconsin.

A three-judge federal appeals panel in Chicago reversed that decision, pointing to new rules the state issued to help people obtain the documentation they need to get IDs. Officials took that step after the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in a separate case, said people must be able to get IDs without having to pay a fee for documents.

‘Fig Leaf’

The panel’s ruling drew a rebuke from Judge Richard Posner, who argued unsuccessfully for reconsideration by a larger group of judges. Posner said voter-impersonation fraud was “a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters.”

The Supreme Court in 2008 upheld Indiana’s voter-ID law on a 6-3 vote. Writing the court’s lead opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens said voter fraud was a real risk that “could affect the outcome of a close election.”

Stevens said the record in the Indiana case “does not provide any concrete evidence of the burden imposed on voters who currently lack photo identification.”

The Wisconsin civil rights groups say the trial in their case produced that type of evidence. State officials say the two laws are indistinguishable after the changes required by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The case is Frank v. Walker, 14-803.

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Wisconsin Senate Votes To Free Workers From Union Shackles – Leftists Lose Their Minds

Wisconsin Senate Passes ‘Right To Work’ Bill Amid Protests –

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The Wisconsin Senate passed legislation late Wednesday to limit union powers amid a second day of protests as the state capitol again became a battleground over the future of organized labor.

The GOP-controlled Senate passed a “right-to-work” bill with a 17-15 vote that would allow employees in unionized private-sector workplaces to opt out of paying union dues. Republicans also control the state Assembly, making passage likely during the next week, and Gov. Scott Walker – who is considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 – has said he would sign such a measure into law.

Immediately after passage, the spectator gallery erupted in boos and chants of “shame, shame!” as the Senate ended its day.

Debate on the bill began Wednesday afternoon in the Senate as about 2,000 protesters jostled and chanted on the steps of the capitol and in the rotunda.

The measure comes four years after Mr. Walker pushed through legislation limiting the reach of public-sector unions, drawing tens of thousands to protest in the capitol and launching a contentious recall election, which the governor won.

Minutes after debate began, a spectator in the gallery stood up, and started yelling before being escorted from the chamber by a police officer. “This is an attack on Democracy!” he shouted.

A few minutes later, another audience member did much the same, before the gallery calmed down and debate continued. Spectators interrupted the session regularly, with the Senate president punctuating the outbursts by banging her gavel and summoning police to escort offenders from the chamber.

At the end of the night, her gavel fell apart in her hand mid-bang.

Although no arrests were made in the Senate, officers took four people into custody during protests in the rotunda, according to capitol police.

Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, the majority leader, said the bill would create a more competitive state economy and give workers more individual freedom to choose union membership, adding that the bill doesn’t prohibit collective bargaining between unions and employers.

“This legislation will ensure that Wisconsin’s workers have the sole power to determine whether they wish to belong to or support a labor organization,” he said in a statement following the vote.

“Right-to-work: it does impact the economy, except in the wrong direction,” said Democrat Senator Lena Taylor during the debate. “It will have an impact on so many things we aren’t even aware of because we’re rushing it through.”

Since his re-election last year, Mr. Walker has shown little interest in expanding union curbs to the private sector, but in recent days he reiterated his support of a right-to-work bill after state lawmakers took the lead.

The legislation still faces opposition from unions and Democratic lawmakers, who argue it is meant to undermine organized labor and won’t deliver the economic benefits backers promise. They also have accused Republican leaders of fast-tracking the legislation to stifle debate.

“It’s bad for the working men and women of this state, both union and nonunion,” said Sen. Dave Hansen, a Democrat, after the vote. “It’s ridiculous.”

But Myranda Tanck, spokeswoman for Mr. Fitzgerald, dismissed the argument, saying the idea isn’t new and possible legislation has been discussed in the state since the 1990s.

Still, the timing appears to have caught some opponents off guard, with labor leaders so far unable to muster the large crowds seen in 2011.

Senate Democrats presented more than a half-dozen amendments which were all defeated before the final vote Wednesday night. Assembly leaders have said they would take up the legislation next week following Senate action.

Twenty-four states have “right-to-work” laws, yet only three have passed such legislation in the past decade: Oklahoma, Michigan and Indiana. That could change in the coming months as several other states debate such bills.

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Report: Democrat Gubernatorial Candidate In Wisconsin Falsified Her Job History, Resume

Report Claims WI Gov. Candidate Falsified Her Job History, Resume – Pajamas Media

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Following an event during which some African American attendees walked out on a Barack Obama speech intended to galvanize them into voting for Mary Burke, the Wisconsin Reporter claims that a pivotal event from Burke’s career has been falsely described by her during the campaign to cover up an embarrassment.

The article also claims that Burke included falsified information related to her job performance on her resume, a resume which she submitted before she was appointed as Wisconsin’s commerce secretary.

Burke has claimed that, after two years heading Trek Bicycle’s European operations during which sales figures rose substantially, she was “burnt out” and left for a several month “snowboarding tour.” Now, several former Trek executives claim that the story is entirely false.

They claim that Burke was in fact fired, and by her own family, which controls Trek Bicycle. Sales were not rising substantially under her watch, but were in fact plummeting, and morale was terrible among the European sales staff. This, they allege, was the real reason for Burke’s extended snowboarding tour – her family wanted her away from the company.

Gary Ellerman, a 21-year employee and head of Trek’s Human Resources Department (the article discloses that Ellerman is the current head of the Jefferson County Republican Party), said of Burke:

She was underperforming. She was [in] so far over her head; she didn’t understand the bike business.

Ellerman also claims that Burke’s father Richard Burke, founder and then-CEO of Trek, sent Tom Albers, then-president and CFO, to Amsterdam to evaluate Mary Burke’s performance. Albers reportedly found the European operations in disarray. As a result of Elbers’ review, Burke’s brother John – then-VP of sales and marketing and current Trek president – was obliged to let his sister go.

Asked about a possible political motivation for the disclosure considering his current political role, Ellerman stated:

I was there. This is what went down.

Other Trek employees – who reportedly requested anonymity – claim that European managers described Burke as a “pit bull on crack,” and “Attila the Hun.” Says Ellerman:

There is a dark side to Mary that the people at Trek have seen… She can explode on people. She can be the cruelest person you ever met.

In the course of her campaign, Burke has repeatedly claimed that European sales climbed to some $50M on her watch. Her 2004 résumé, submitted to the Doyle administration when she was being considered for commerce secretary, claims that the figure was closer to $60M. Despite repeated requests by reporters, Trek has refused to issue any confirmation of the claims, citing the company’s status as a closely held family business.

Ellerman says those sales figures are fabricated.

The actual figures, he maintains, were at least $10M lower than Burke says. Most of the company’s overseas sales increases occured in the United Kingdom, a market well-established before Burke’s arrival in Europe, and in Japan, where Burke had no involvement.

He says those increases were sharply offset by steep losses on the European continent, particularly in Germany, the areas for which Burke was actually responsible.

These disclosures come after the revelation that John Nettles, Burke’s predecessor as secretary of commerce, wrote in a 2006 e-mail regarding Burke that “she’s a disaster.”

The accusation of a falsified past and resume adds to prior campaign controversy of a similar nature: Burke was earlier confronted with claims that substantial parts of several of her policy papers, including her jobs plan which is central to her campaign, were plagiarized from documents issued by Democratic gubernatorial candidates in several other states.

The Burke family paints a very different picture of Mary Burke, but Ellerman and the others insist that this is historical revisionism for the sake of family and company image.

It appears that last week’s clumsy “October surprise” from Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele – he released 16,000 pages of emails from Scott Walker’s stint as county executive – has just been countered by the Jefferson County Republican Party.

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