Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pro-Plutocrat Referendum Group Broke Election Laws

It was pretty obvious from the beginning that Chris Abele, the Mitt Romney of Milwaukee County, wanted to make  his usurpation of power a sure thing.  (Just because the boy prince did not like being told no for the first time in his spoiled life.)

He and his plutocratic pals at the misnamed Greater Milwaukee Committee retained the silk stocking law firm of Foley and Lardner to write the bill that would eventually become Act 14.

He and his pals paid off people like Teapublicans Joe Sanfelippo and Dale Kooyenga to get the bill passed.

Part of the bill was a red herring referendum that they scheduled for the spring election, knowing that the voter turnout would be extremely low and extremely conservative.

Then in the weeks leading up to the voting day, he and his friends at GMC - people like Michael Grebe, Walker's campaign chair and head of the Bradley Foundation - started a PAC front group they called "Forward Milwaukee County."  Said group spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on radio commercials.  They sent out propaganda email blasts almost daily.

They even got the Republicans to do robocalling for them.

But even that wasn't enough for Abele and company to feel assured of victory.  They also had to break the law.

In their zealousness to get their email blasts out to as many people as possible, they did an open records request of the email databases for the county supervisors. Apparently, they didn't bother to check the databases before using them and sent their blasts to people on their county emails:

Click to embiggen

And it wasn't just them, but also elected officials, like the county board supervisors themselves:

Click to embiggen
Needless to say, it's against the law to send these emails, which blatantly tell the recipient to vote yes on the referendum, via the government emails.  It is also illegal to solicit elected officials in their offices or using their official email.  Thirdly, given that Abele was involved to some extent in this whole debacle, there would be problems with soliciting employees at their workplace.

All in all, some people are in serious trouble.  Abele might be able to worm his way out of it, but Rice is definitely on the hook.

And this is far from the first time that Abele played fast and loose with the law.

Joe Rice, the treasurer for this group, is a former county supervisor and should know the rules.  But apparently he and Abele just don't care. It's more than a bit reminiscent of their mutual friend, Scott Walker, and his staff, who didn't care about the rules even though they knew better.

It's a good think that Abele and Walker are such tight friends.  At the pace they are going, they will be sharing the same prison cell.


  1. Congrats, on another scoop.

  2. Simply amazing how when these very little people get lots of power how they can't use it for the public good but have to abuse it for self good. When all the power is centered in one person or party they walk rough shod over whomever they choose.

  3. Not a biggy, remember the Van Hollen principal " it may be illegal but it wasn't criminal" if republicans do it.

  4. Laws are for the little people.

  5. Helloooo! Danny Bice! I think there's something you might wanna look into instead if blog posts from Walker spokesmodels in college.

    If Danny hasn't been ordered off this story by JournalComm, that is

  6. This is a blatant effort to sway a political election via county government email accounts.
    A lawsuit is clearly in order, along with FOIA documentation. Let the public see how this was all coordinated, identifying all the people who directed it, as well as the mules who carried out their orders.
    It's well past time to clean up the County Executive office. Wealthy private groups should not carry such clout on our elected public officials.

  7. Prison cell? We can only hope.