Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Illegal Legal Defense Fund

Apparently, even corrupt Republicans are not immune from being fashion followers.

David Prosser showing
off his famous choke hold.
Scott Walker got himself a legal defense fund, so now they all have to do it.

Now, David "Chokehold" Prosser has gotten one as well.

But Prosser has a number of issues with his that Walker never had to deal with.

While the Government Accountability Board (GAB) apparently approved of Prosser using his campaign fund as a legal defense fund, they are on shaky ground as to their rationale. The GAB claim that Prosser could proceed with this because the Judicial Commission's inquiry into his physical assault on fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley "meets the definition of a political purpose because the proceeding affects his reputation and electability."

The article goes on to show two leading authorities questioning this rationale:
But George Dunst, who formerly served as the top attorney for the accountability board, disputed that interpretation.

"That's pretty tortured, I would think," he said. "That's a stretch to say this has to do with a political purpose. By that stretch, almost anything does. If he's accused of murder, he could use it (under that view)."

Michael Maistelman, a campaign finance attorney who often represents Democrats, had a similar take.

"If the GAB is going to take that expansive view, then every elected official could use campaign funds to hire a divorce attorney or an attorney for a speeding ticket," he said. All they would have to do is argue that the issue attorneys are helping them with affects their political reputation, he said.
Indeed, if one looks at the actual law regarding the establishment of legal defense funds, Wisconsin State Statute Chapter 11.64 you'll see that physical assault of a coworker on company time is not covered:
11.64 Defense fund authorized.
(1) Any candidate or public official who is being investigated for, charged with or convicted of a criminal violation of this chapter or ch. 12, or whose agent is so investigated, charged or convicted, may establish a defense fund for expenditures supporting or defending the candidate or agent, or any dependent of the candidate or agent, while that person is being investigated for, or while the person is charged with or convicted of a criminal violation of this chapter or ch. 12.
(2) No person may utilize a contribution received from a contributor to a campaign fund for a purpose for which a defense fund is authorized under sub. (1) unless the authorization of the contributor is obtained. Notwithstanding s. 11.25 (2) (a), any contributor may authorize the transfer of all or part of a contribution from a campaign fund to a defense fund.
History: 1973 c. 334; 1975 c. 93; 1987 a. 370.
The only time a politician could establish a legal defense fund, per the law, is if said politician was being investigated or charged under Chapter 11 or Chapter 12. Chapter 11 deals with campaign financing and Chapter 12 covers prohibited election practices. Like I said, physical assault and battery belong to neither of those chapters. Nor are they investigating Prosser under either of those categories.

I don't know if the GAB decision could be challenged or if it could, by whom or in what venue. I would like to think so though. 

UPDATE: I have learned, from Attorney Michael Maistelman, who has informed me that anyone could file a verified complaint with the District Attorney.  I would expect that he will receive any number of them before long.

But for the sake of discussion, let's accept that Prosser can have a legal defense fund, despite the fact that the law clearly says he can't. Even with this stipulation, Prosser still has two major problems to contend with.

One is that he has no money:
The defense fund could give Prosser a way to pay his legal bills without having to bear them personally. But his campaign account has just $1,145 in it and is already laden with a debt of about $229,000 from a recount last year.
As a side note, the article mentions that the $229,000 is owed to the Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren law firm, which just happens to be Walker's old favorite law firm, before he became infatuated with Michael Best & Friedrich.

The other issue that Prosser has is that he cannot just 'christen' his campaign fund as his legal defense fund.

Attorney Michael Maistelman confirmed that Prosser would have to get the expressed permission from each donor to divert any campaign donations to his legal defense fund.

Something tells me Prosser never did that.

Besides the legal defense fund, Prosser is imitating Walker in another way. Just as with all things Walker, there's more.

The article goes on to show Prosser's paranoia, his disconnect from reality, and even shows that the matter is not really suitable for a legal defense fund (emphasis mine):
Prosser said he believed the Judicial Commission was trying to punish him by driving up his legal bills. He said members of the commission likely believed the case could never be heard by the Supreme Court because the other justices witnessed the incident at issue.

"I think the purpose of the Judicial Commission (complaint), quite deliberately, with knowledge and forethought, was to incur as much personal cost to Dave Prosser as possible," he said.

Prosser has asked all the other justices to recuse themselves from the case. Justice Patience Roggensack has stepped aside in the case and Justice N. Patrick Crooks has said he will stay on; the other justices have not indicated what they will do.

Prosser also raised the possibility that he could eventually have state taxpayers pick up his legal bills.

"I'm a state employee," he said. "When people proceed against me in my official capacity and they fail, I don't see why I'm any different than any other state employee."
So which is it? Is Prosser defending a political act or is he claiming that it was an act in his official capacity? It can't be both? The taxpayers aren't paying him to be a professional politician.

Then again, we're not paying Walker to be one either, but that is what he is doing.

In summary, we have Prosser trying to illegally use a legal defense fund which is as devoid of cash as Prosser is devoid of morals and threatening to stick the taxpayers for the bill for his boorish and inexcusable behavior.

Hey, he is really starting to sound more and more like Scott Walker, isn't he?  And just like Walker, charm schools and PR firms will have very little effect in making them look presentable.  Which makes this shot from an old anti-Prosser ad all the more appropriate:


  1. I have news, Prosser. If other state employees wrapped their hands around someone else's neck -- we'd just be FIRED.Our legal bills would NOT be paid for by taxpayers. Get a life!

  2. Not JUST Scott Walker, Prosser embodies the whole Wisconsin republican party....

    *Never takes personal responsibility for anything, it is always someone elses fault.

    *Runs up a huge debt with no interest whatsoever in paying it back.

    * Think the rules and the laws really dont apply to them because they are elected

    * Feels he is entitled to as much taxpayer money as possible(upset it has cost him $40/k already) and has no problem trying to find a loophole that will allow him to pass all of his expenses onto the taxpayer.

    The thing is this articlle could have no names and you would not know if it was scott walker, robin vos, scott fitzgerald, Jim ott, david prosser, etc....

    This is exactly what we get as a state when we elect this current batch of insane republicans!

    1. It must be nice to just take shots and have everybody in agreement!
      Couple questions, your insinuating that the republicans are the party of no personal responsibility? Really? Seems to me the Dems are using reliance on government to enable lack of personal responsibility.
      A huge debt? Give me the name of a more fiscally responsible Democrat governor today.
      Rules and law? It would seem the activist judges are the lefts last stand against progress in this state. Albeit, it will only slow down progress, not stop it.
      Insane is defined as doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. We had 8 years of democrat leadership, and they were good years, especially if your were an Indian, a lawyer, or a public employee. But eventually the bill comes and even Jim Doyle didn't want to stick around to pay it.

    2. I'm sorry--are we talking about the HERE and NOW or are we reminiscing of things in the past?

      Grow some balls, stand up to corruption regardless of party.

      Put the effing stake in the ground now and stamp out the corruption on OUR government.

      Get over your petty little ego and party affiliation and stand up for what's right--regardless of which party commits the crime.

    3. Your probably right. Nothing to learn from the past.
      I'm not sticking up for Prosser, never did. I just thought Jeffs description of republicans was pretty far off base.

    4. I wish iwas off base....I dont see that I am though. When was the last time a republican took personal responsibility or didnt try and pass off all of their expenses on to the taxpayer???

    5. Never said there wasn't anything to learn from the past.

      Truthfully, I don't give a rat's ass what political party you swing with, if you don't believe in corruption, then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT--REGARDLESS of what side it's on.

      That's the only measure of a truly decent person. Otherwise you're a hypocrite just like anybody else who points fingers at one side or the other but doesn't speak up when their own party screws the people over.

  3. have everyone in agreement? taking shots??

    Lets look at your questions imbr....

    1. repubs the party of no personal responsibility? YES

    2. Really? YES!!!.

    3. reliance on government??? I think you have the party wrong!

    4. A more fiscally responsible dem Governor? almost any of them, but for starters Brian Schweitzer, Martin O Malley and Deval Patrick.

    5. Activist Judges?? Again, I think you have the party wrong!

    6. Yes those janitors making $12/hr were breaking our state....those bastards

    1. Reliance on government, The New York Post reported Sunday that as unemployment checks run out, many jobless are trying to gain government benefits by declaring themselves unhealthy.

      "Governor Schweitzer also made a point to save some of the state’s surplus in past years rather than allow state legislators to spend it on pork projects, which enabled the state to survive the recession. Like other states, the Montana government had to freeze employee pay and reduce the work force. But to show their commitment to and appreciation of their government workers, Governor Schweitzer cut his own salary as well."
      Sounds a bit like Walker to me. Maybe the party isn't a lost cause after all. Of course when the state produces 40 million barrels of oil a year it might have a fiscal advantage over say US, who cant even get a iron mine built.

      A second judge on Tuesday declared Wisconsin's voter identification law unconstitutional, the US supreme court already ruled on this law in Indiana. Did this judge find something in the law that the supreme court didnt? Or is this just to buy time for the Nov. election, so we can allow as many same day registrations using a postcard as we did in Racine?

      Because of the insane union contracts in Wisconsin, one Madison bus driver, John E. Nelson, was able to make $159,000 in 2009.

    2. But the bus driver didn't choke anybody. He simply took advantage of a loophole in which he got first dibs on overtime pay. It doesn't mean he didn't drive the bus then, he did work for the money. He has nothing to do with Prosser.

      Prosser, as quoted, sounds like he is losing it. Those are odd remarks. You can't blame what he says on a Madison bus driver, or the unions. In fact, Prosser was elected with huge backing by the Republican party of Wisconsin.

      I know you are just trying to point out government inefficiency, but the issue isn't really who pays for his defense, rather, it is the fact that he has to be investigated at all. Supreme Court judges should be above reproach. We shouldn't have anyone who isn't reasonable on the court. That is why I think the GOP is corrupt, because they chose to back him when they should have gotten another candidate.

    3. I know that Prosser didn't "choke" anyone either, but you know what I mean. I mean he was in a physical altercation, etc., etc. I don't mean to say he is guilty.

  4. Prosser is a Supreme Court justice and doesn't need to follow the law because he IS the law.
    Nobody can judge him, not even other Supreme Court jusices because he is such a prick that they are all prejudiced against him.

    The $229,000 will be paid off with in-kind services rendered to the law firm. Use your imagination on this one. Prosser won't recuse himself from any case they bring and no one can force him to because again, he IS the law.

    Simple isn't it?

  5. imustberacist.... First, you seem to be under the odd impression that all jobless people are Democrats. The worst free loaders are Republicans. They are tax evaders and they take every chance they get to milk the system. One unemployed radical Republican I know milked his unemployment for as long as humanly possible, refused to finish his college degree during the 2+ years he was unemployed, then when he was shamed into actually doing something for his family who his wife was supporting, finally finished his degree milking the taxpayers for even more money for his UWM tuition, enabling him to get a much better higher paying job, and now he obtusely sits back and complains incessantly about "Obama" every chance he gets. Or how about the Republican I know who owns his own "business" that consists of a grand total of one employee, himself, flipping houses and claiming on his tax returns that his expenses miraculoulsly equal his revenue making his income zero, thereby evading income taxes, for decades, all while his kids go to public schools and he gets low interest loans thanks to the taxpayers and the piece of land he inherited from daddy to use as collateral. Oh and his kids wouldn't have any health insurance were it not for his Democrat ex-wife who actually has a real job. I have PLENTY more Republican free-loader examples if you are interested.

    Second, Montana is ranked 7th in the country for federal spending garnered per dollars paid out so it's quite a stretch to compare the Montana governor to Walker.

    1. I didnt say all jobless people are democrats. I said the dems enable the type of behavior you describe.It was Obama that recently removed the Welfare to work modifications that governor Thompson pioneered. And believe me, I have more stories of people gaining the system than you. While it seems nobody is interested in fixing the problem (personal responsibility), we need to fix the system, thus requiring a change in attitudes towards self reliance.
      I guess I dont understand your reference to Montana. Is 7th in federal spending a good thing?

    2. Some people do need aid and are personally responsible. Both parties have people who have bad luck and need some help. That is how life is. You cannot always plan for everything.

  6. imustberacist... Third, Eric Hovde was a same day voter registrant. We can't have that.

    Fourth, that bus driver worked the most overtime. His base salary was $50k. Do you know how many hours he worked per week? I'll let you google it for yourself.

    1. Same day registration is debatable, but no id is unconscionable.

      Do you think it would have been prudent to hire another driver? Or pay him to drive 90 hours a week. I would have to refresh my knowledge on him but I recall he was gaming the system as well to achieve that result.

    2. thick as a brick conservativeJuly 24, 2012 at 8:55 PM

      The first best way to save money is to do away with extra pay for overtime work for public employees. Once the worker has gotten his pay for 40 hours that is what the employer agreed to pay him. If the employer needs extra work done, then the public employee should have to do it for free.

      The second best way to save money is outsource the jobs to the money saving private sector. Minimally qualified drivers can be hired for much less, but some of the savings will have to be spent on legal bills and injury and death claims. The job creating employer of the minimally qualified and cheaply hired drivers can bank the rest for such productive causes as electing more real fiscal conservatives to elected offices.

      Right now the conservatives can lay claim to restricting the employment of drivers, which perhaps necessitates the massive overtime for the unnecessary and socialist mass transit that is unprofitable.

    3. "the rules are deliberately set up so that veteran drivers can goose their earnings for a few years at the exact time that their earnings are highest. It's no surprise that the union rank-and-file initially voted down a proposal to reform this system, since the rank-and-file understand that eventually they'll all have their own chance to goose their earnings just before retirement, thus providing them with a lavish pension. Only after arbitration and a lengthy public outcry did they finally accept changes to rein in this practice."
      Yeah, its the conservatives that are wasting the money, I know. More kool aid?

    4. A sourceless quote? How droll. Now what you're not admitting is that the driver could not do it if there was sufficient staff and overtime was not required in the first place.

      Now, should we talk about how much health insurance CEOs or power company CEOs make?

    5. http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/03/madisons-most-famous-bus-driver

      Yes, if your a shareholder.

  7. "It must be nice to just take shots and have everybody in agreement!"

    Ask Mark Belling what that's like.

  8. Ditto that everyone agrees with Jeff but me?
    I never said I want to silence speach I don't agree with, just challenge it. That's the difference between you and me.

  9. IMBR in terms of the bus driver. i agree its crazy but the problem is the right wing keeps on cutting public workers.

    Who cares if one guy gets $10k overtime or 4 guys get $25k overtime. When we cut public workers we arent cutting public work.

    So blame your "conservative" policies on that one

  10. imustberacist... the point is that the radical Republican who can't stop whining "Obama this, Obama that" used the "Democrat" system to earn his college degree while he was unemployed and is now earning a lot more money to support his family than he would have without "Obama." His taxes are also lower by about $4,000 a year thanks to Obama. He's completely oblivious to the fact that his life and his family's life was improved greatly by "Obama."

    1. I see, because I thought you were hating on him for taking advantage of the system and not voting so more people can take advantage.
      His taxes are lower because of Obama? OK, we'll skip that for now. Where is Obama getting the money for all this doing good? Who will pay the bill?

    2. This is the "shared sacrifice" Walker talked of, but didn't produce.

    3. The only way to stop it is higher enough bus drivers so that so much overtime is not needed....of course none of this has anything to do with Prossers lack of ethics and morals

    4. You pulled this thread off topic with your first comment!

  11. IMBAR is just upset because after he tried to tell us that Fitzwalkerstan is a growing successful state, the truth jumped up and slapped him hard

    1. I was hoping you would chime in. I seem to draw out an inordinate number of anonymous posters.
      It would seem the up and down state numbers tend to follow the national numbers pretty close.

    2. That's not what the construction guild said.

    3. I read your link. And I quote: Timing has a lot to do with the employment numbers, said Bob Barker, executive vice president of the Associated General Contractors of Wisconsin.

      "There have been times when we have ranked at the bottom, and there have been times we have been ranked at the top," Barker said.

      Lets hear your take on Tim Cullen

    4. When, oh when, was that time that last we ranked at the top? Tell us, imbr.

      And then talk about Prosser. Find another blog to talk about the other topics, which is not the topic here.

    5. A corrupt governor would rig the unemployment numbers!