Thursday, September 6, 2012

Caucus Scandal 2011: Hit Me With Your Best Shot

Last month, I reported on the latest version of the caucus scandals.

In that story, I showed that the aides de camp for Paul Ryan, Jeff Fitzgerald and Scott Fitzgerald, as well as Scott Fitzgerald's chief fundraiser and "special friend" were conducting state business, well, gerrymandering, using private emails to avoid discovery by an Open Record Requests.

That story came to light after the Democrats regained control of the state senate, and by this, gained control of the emails and other documents related to the Republicans' gerrymandering.

But that was not the only story those treasures contained.

There is also the tale of the hits being ordered by Republican leaders on particular people that they wanted out of the way. Politically speaking, that is.

Let me give you a couple of examples.

The first hit was ordered by State Senator Leah Vukmir.

The Wisconsin State Journal skimmed the surface of the story when the documents and emails were first released:
In one email, state Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, offered these thoughts about redrawing her district: "Western Wauwatosa — yes (more GOP)," "West Milwaukee — No (forgot to mention this part of current district — VERY Dem" and "Milwaukee — cop wards if needed."

She also wrote in the May 4, 2011, message to Tad Ottman, an aide to then-Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, "This is such a big task. So glad we are in control!"

Ottman worked on the redistricting plan out of the office of law firm Michael Best & Friedrich, which helped write the plan.

Vukmir could not be reached Tuesday for comment.
But like I said, they only skimmed the surface, not wanting to dig too deep and expose the vile syndicate-style of management the Republicans thrive in.

To get the whole story, you have to go to the email itself. The gentle reader will note right off the bat the addresses being used were, just like in the Ryan/Fitzgerald story, private emails. Again, this was to keep things on the sly and away from the purview of anyone filing an ORR.

The first part of the email is what was highlighted in the paper. But the key part is that bottom, which the paper failed to report:
If you need a way to take the Staskunas seat, put a little bit of my Senate seat into New Berlin(2-3 wards could make that a GOP Assembly seat). Western West Allis/Eastern Bkfd and New Berlin are areas of like interest. (The previous Duff seat had parts of New Berlin, Elm Grove, Bkfd and West Allis)

Hope that helps!

As you can see, she was ordering the hit on Tony Staskunas, a moderate Democrat that had represented that area for a long, long time. But he was a Democrat and so he had to go!

Staskunas decided to retire after he saw how the district was rigged to strongly favor a Republican. The corrupt and greedy Joe Sanfelippo, Milwaukee County's only-part time supervisor, and one of the main players in the county having to pay out $4.5 million for the illegal furloughs, is aiming to buy that newly gerrymandered seat.

That one was pretty straightforward.

The next one is a little more complicated, but still easy enough to see.

In this story, the hitwoman is State Representative Michelle Litjens.

Here's the email:
Adam Foltz
To: Michelle Litjens

As per our conversation, here are the maps in question. Please delete these when you are done and don’t share with anyone outside of Robin, Fitz and I.


Again, the personal emails to avoid records requests. Also not the blatant reminder that they they are all part of the super-secret money-loving voter-hating club.

The maps referred to in the email are the old and new maps for the 55th Assembly District, represented for the psst 20 years by Republican Dean Kaufert.

Yes, you read that correctly. Litjens was ordering a hit on a fellow Republican.

Why? Well, Kaufert was not always the good, goose-stepping soldier they want in their ranks. He was a co-owner of a bar with Steve Foti, who gained his claim to fame in the first caucus scandal before becoming a lobbyist. Kaufert also ran against Mike Huebsch (yes, Scott Walker's Mike Huebsch) to be Speaker of the Assembly.

But the most likely reason is because Kaufert is one of the four Republican representatives who had the spine to stand up for the people of his district and voted against Act 10.

There's been a rumor that Walker and his crew were threatening Republican lawmakers with a primary against a teahadist candidate if they dared defy Dear Leader and his agenda of destruction.

As if to enforce that rumor, Kaufert did pick up a teahadist challenger named Jay Schroeder, who dubbed himself the "true conservative."

It should be noted that Schroeder lives in Menasha, which only got added to the 55th with the gerrymandering. Also noteworthy is that Litjens had more than a passing familiarity with Schroeder since he had once ran against her for the district he used to live in - before said gerrymandering, of course.

Scott Wittkopf recently pointed out that there was solid proof that Scott Walker and the Republicans were controlling the message by telling squawk radio hosts like Charlie Sykes, Vicki McKenna and Jerry Bader on what to say and what talking points they should use.

Of course, for my long time followers already knew this from the days I was writing more at Whallah! which did nothing but expose squawk radio for what it is - free advertisement and a campaigning outlet for Republicans.

To further strengthen, look at this obvious bit of collusion as the would be "media" go to work for Litjens agenda of getting Kaufert bounced in the primary:
Yeah, nothing to see here, kids.

The funny thing is that despite the gerrymandering, despite the handpicked teahadist candidate and despite the coordinated attack by the Republican propaganda machine, Kaufert still won the primary by a full 30 points.

Maybe the Republicans aren't as infallible as they would like to think they are.

But keep in mind that this is but just two examples. And in both of these examples, they used private emails, secrecy pacts and purity tests to gain and maintain control of the legislature.

Not only is that extremist, that is also rather fascist.


  1. The republicans also ran Ken Kratz as a "true conservative"!

  2. Capper surmised:

    "Maybe the Republicans aren't as infallible as they would like to think they are."

    Dave responds:

    "Truer words have rarely been spoken."

  3. I found Litjens' announcement that she will not be running again very odd. She was obviously a rising (ALEC) star. Maybe she wants to get while the getting's good, or perhaps she has something more lucrative worked out in the WI-GOP Garanimal network.

  4. Interesting about Kaufert. Thanks, I wouldn't have found out about that if I hadn't read it here.

    OT I saw the 999 guy on Ed's show the other night. He was saying there was a conspiracy against him, sounded silly, but then I remembered there was some sort of link with the cigarette ad guy and Wisconsin. Anything there?

  5. Rumor in Madison is that Michelle liked the social scene a bit too much. Her husband forced her to choose between their marriage and her political career.

  6. It's an interesting fact that if you ask a Wisconsin Republican in a FOIA request to confirm in writing they have no secret, private email OR that they did not destroy communications, they will not acknowledge these facts.

  7. I have heard rumors that Michelle Litjens has a sex scandal going on (possibly with someone high up in the GOP hierarchy). They are just rumors, but that would explain her sudden decision not to pursue politics.

    1. Well, she and another Assembly Republican went into divorce proceedings at right about the same time, and there were rumors around about them in Madison. And she and said other Assembly Republican were both in Tampa and always seemed to be in the same places at the same time. But it's all just rumor and conjecture. Maybe they're just good friends.

    2. It's true. Michelle likes to play.

    3. Where there's smoke....

    4. She loves men and can not stop herself.

  8. My understanding of the open records law is that the owner of a private e-mail mailbox is the "custodian" of the records there. Wouldn't an ORR to each individual Republican senator and representative for "all electronic mail related to redistricting" require the legislators to produce the private mail? If they did not, and if its existence was discovered independently (e.g., via the headers of another message), wouldn't that be a serious offense for the John Doe investigators to pursue? Just sayin'...

  9. Just wondering if another GOPer ordered a hit: Alberta Darling. What was done to Shorewood in redistricting has all the marks of a hit job to punish the community that was the launchpad for the effort to recall Alberta. Or was it a hit on Sandy Pasch, by dismembering her district? Was Alberta dumb enough to leave e-mail fingerprints?

  10. just confirmed litjens and vos. GOPers don't know how to hide vos' home wrecker status- she has two kids- before he takes over as speaker of the house. suppose there will be madison address; maybe next to hopper? it is shameful.

  11. Why did she file for divorce in the first place? Do you really think he ex-husband made her choose or do you think he wanted her to choose between the "life" she was leading or her "family values" It is easier to live a false life than to actually work on the one you have.