Posted by PR Watch Admin on March 14, 2011

SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 2011, NEWS ROUNDUP

Wisconsin State Journal: STUDY: BUDGET COULD HURT STATE'S ECONOMY

Gov. Scott Walker's plans to balance the state budget by cutting spending and public workers' take-home pay will slow the state's economic recovery, according to projections by a UW-Madison economist. An estimated 21,843 jobs will be lost over the next year or two as public agencies and workers are able to spend less in their communities, said Steven Deller, a professor of applied economics who studied the ripple effects of Walker's budget-repair bill and two-year budget proposal. "That's not just a bump in the road," Deller said. "That's a speed bump."

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: SUPREME COURT TENSIONS BOIL OVER PROSSER SAYS HE WAS GOADED INTO INSULTING CHIEF JUSTICE

As the deeply divided state Supreme Court wrestled over whether to force one member off criminal cases last year, Justice David Prosser exploded at Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson behind closed doors, calling her a "bitch" and threatening to "destroy" her.

Capital Times Editorial: DOUG LA FOLLETTE UPHOLDS A PUBLIC TRUST

From his office atop a building opposite the Capitol, Secretary of State Doug La Follette keeps watch on the comings and goings of the political mandarins who see governing as a game rather than the serious work of democracy. Once, decades ago, La Follette was one of the young stars of Wisconsin politics and he too played the games, as a state senator and contender for congressional nominations. But long ago he settled into what has always been the least partisan of state constitutional offices.

TAX THE RICH: MADISON PROTEST TIME-LAPSE

SCOTT WALKER'S 'BROWN BAG MOVEMENT' MIXED WITH RECENT PROTEST VIDEO

SATURDAY, MARCH 19, 2011 - WALKER BUDGET / WAR PROTEST - WILL WILLIAMS

1:00 pm Steve Horn reporting - Many thousands of people rallied at the Capitol at noon today today with colorful signs ("The war is in Madison not Tripoli!" "We need nation building in Milwaukee and Beloit not Kabul") and slogans ("Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation!" "No justice, no peace. No more wars in the Middle East!"). Today's rally was supported by Iraq Veterans Against the War and the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. Many of the speakers discussed the linkages between the trillions spent on the wars overseas and the lack of services for returning soldiers, not to mention the lack of jobs for vets returning to their communities. Many members of Iraq Veterans Against the War participated in the sit ins in the Wisconsin Capitol and shared their experiences with students and workers alike. The organization fights to secure quality services for returning veterans.

SATURDAY, MARCH 19, 2011, SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

CMD REPORTS: WISCONSIN JUDGE HALTS UNION-BUSTING BILL

2:30 p.m. - Brendan Fischer reporting for CMD:

A second judge has castigated Wisconsin Republicans for excluding the public from the legislative process. Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi has issued a temporary restraining order blocking implementation of Governor Walker's union-busting bill on grounds that the conference committee's rushed passage of the bill on March 9 likely violated state Open Meeting laws.

Never Have So Few Ignored So Many protest signWhile both chambers of the State Legislature passed the bill and Governor Walker has signed it, the bill does not become law until it is published by Secretary of State Doug LaFollette. The decision bars LaFollette from publication until a full hearing takes place on Tuesday, March 29. Judge Sumi, appointed to the bench by a Republican governor in 1998, is the second judge to issue a temporary restraining order against the state, following Judge John Albert's decision earlier this month requiring access to the Capitol building.

The Lawsuit

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne brought the case challenging the March 9 vote on grounds that it violated Open Meetings laws. Those laws state that public notice of meetings must be issued 24 hours in advance, and while there is an exception when "for good cause such notice is impossible or impractical," there still must be two hours advance notice. Republican leaders gave only one hour and forty minutes advance notice for the Joint Conference Committee meeting that amended the "budget repair bill," and no notice for the subsequent Senate floor vote that passed it.

In finding against the state, Judge Sumi's ruling emphasized the importance of open government in a democracy. "This was something that would and did catch the public unaware," Sumi said, "in what ended up being a closed session of a body in propelling legislation forward."

According to Phil Neuenfeldt, President of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, "Judge Sumi confirmed today what we knew all along – that the bill stripping hundreds of thousands of hard working Wisconsinites of their voice on the job was rammed through illegally in the dark of the night."

Read the complete article here.

This article also published on Common Dreams

Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi issued a temporary restraining order Friday at 10:30 a.m., halting the publication of Governor Scott Walker's proposal to curtail the collective bargaining rights of public employees. The order will prevent Sec. State Doug LaFollette from publishing the law until there can be a full hearing on the merits of the case. Both Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and Dane County District Attorney Isamel Ozanne sought to block the law because of open meetings irregularities.

THURSDAY, MARCH 17, 2011: MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL EVENING NEWS ROUNDUP

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WMC FIGHTS BACK, URGES 'BUY WISCONSIN'

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state's largest pro-business group, announced on Thursday a new campaign "to stand up to government union boss intimidation and purchase goods and services from state businesses to save jobs." The campaign is a response to efforts by several unions urging its members to engage in what they called "voluntary consumer activism." The group advised its members to "stand firm and not give in to the union demands." In a statement, James S. Haney, WMC's president, said state businesses were struggling to come out of the recession. "We need to buy Wisconsin to help protect jobs and keep our state strong. If businesses fail, we lose jobs and government loses tax revenue to provide vital programs like education," Haney said.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: UNION CHIEF URGES 'CONSUMER ACTIVISM' IN COLLECTIVE BARGAINING FIGHT

James Palmer, the executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, said Wednesday that he is encouraging his members to engage in "voluntary consumer activism" against companies that do not support collective bargaining for public-sector employees. "It would make a difference to me, in terms of which business I patronize, to know that a business doesn't support the basic right of a public employee to have a voice at the bargaining table. I think that would matter to people," Palmer said.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: DEMS FILE COMPLAINT AGAINST WALKER

In a sign of how divisive the fight over Gov. Scott Walker's union bargaining law remains, Democrats have filed a complaint over Walker's meeting last month with a prominent Republican pollster. In a complaint with the state Government Accountability Board, state Democratic Party executive director Maggie Brick questioned whether Walker had derived a benefit from a free meeting with political consultant Frank Luntz on Feb. 23. State officials are not supposed to use their positions to seek anything of value.

CMD REPORTS: YOU CAN RUN BUT YOU CAN'T HIDE, PROTESTS FOLLOW WI SENATORS TO DC FUNDRAISER

Erica Pelzek reports for CMD:

Hundreds of protesters pack The Homer Building in Washington, DCProtesters flooded The Homer Building in Washington, D.C., where BGR Group, an enormous and infamously right-wing lobbyist group has its offices.

BGR hosted a $1,000-a-head fundraiser Wednesday for the Republican Party of Wisconsin. Special guests included Wisconsin Republican senators, notably Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald -- the "Fitz" of "FitzWalkerstan," as legislators and protesters in Madison have dubbed Fitzgerald and Governor Scott Walker's now-Republican "state."

Other guests slated to attend: Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, and two senators eligible for recall, Alberta Darling and Glenn Grothmann.

Read the complete story here.

THURSDAY, MARCH 17, 2011, NEWS ROUNDUP

Wisconsin State Journal: MADISON DA FILES OPEN MEETINGS COMPLAINT OVER BUDGET SESSION

In a challenge to Republican leaders, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne has asked a judge to void Gov. Scott Walker's measure to limit collective bargaining for public employees, saying lawmakers violated the state's open meetings law when they pushed the legislation through last week. In a civil complaint filed Wednesday in Dane County Circuit Court, Ozanne alleges that a joint Assembly-Senate conference committee met without providing the required 24 hours' notice, and that notice of the meeting did not give the public enough information about what would be discussed. The complaint also seeks to bar Secretary of State Doug La Follette from publishing the legislation, as he has said he would do on March 25, the last step before it takes effect.

Capital Times: FITZWALKERSTAN CONTINUES TO KEEP THE PUBLIC OUT

Two Democratic lawmakers boycotted a meeting chaired by Gov. Scott Walker Wednesday after they arrived to find it had been closed to roughly a dozen members of the public. Two Madison legislators, Sen. Fred Risser and Rep. Mark Pocan, arrived at the state's Building Commission meeting to find several individuals standing outside the door, Risser said in an interview in his office following the meeting. Those denied access included Al Fish, the vice chancellor of the UW-Madison, and Frank Hoadley, who handles bonding for the state Department of Administration.

CONSERVATIVES: WE ARE BEING OUTWORKED AND OUT-ORGANIZED IN WISCONSIN RECALL CAMPAIGNS

Sam Stein reporting from The Huffington Post:

Both national and Wisconsin-based Republican operatives tell the Huffington Post the party is being dramatically outworked and out-organized by Democrats in the recall campaigns being launched against state Senators.

"It's clear that Democrats and liberal organizations are engaging in an attempt to make recall more than a mere hypothetical possibility for some Wisconsin Republicans," said Liz Mair, Vice President of Hynes Communications and former RNC Online Communications Director, who has worked closely with officials on the ground in Wisconsin. "Even though Governor Walker acted to end the impasse, Republicans and conservatives should not be acting like this is done and dusted."

A conservative activist working inside the state on recall efforts was even more explicitly distraught. The Wisconsin Republican Party, the operative said, was not lending resources to the recall campaign groups had launched against Democratic Senators, in turn causing those groups to narrow their target list down from eight lawmakers to just three.

"It would be nice if the Republican Party, operatives, etc, would step in with a little money," said the activist, who asked to remain nameless lest he draw the GOP even further away from the recall effort. "But they are talking about doing radio and I'm not sure that gets you signatures."

Read the complete story here.

GRITtv: LENA TAYLOR: AWAKENING A SLEEPING GIANT

GRITtv: WISCONSIN FARMERS SUPPORT LABOR

TV AD WAR HEATS UP

3:03 p.m. - Jennifer Page reporting for CMD:

Over $3 million has been spent on advertising in the war of words between supporters of Walker's budget, and those who oppose the extreme cuts and changes to Wisconsin laws. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that 'Roughly $3.6 million has now been spent on the Wisconsin budget debate, most of it in the past four weeks, and some of it by the same groups that were active in the race for governor.' That is close to the total spent on actual campaign advertising for the 2010 governor's race. The total for the first three weeks after the September primary was $3.7 million.

Below is a list of the five biggest spenders in ads:

  • Wisconsin AFL-CIO: $933,870
  • Wisconsin Club for Growth: $805,610
  • Greater Wisconsin Committee: $514,010
  • Republican Governors Association: $351,280
  • Americans for Prosperity: $290,470

The numbers above do not include national cable ads. The Milwaukee State Journal shows that "The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America expect to have spent a combined $500,000 on broadcast and cable by the end of next week, largely focused on defeating three GOP state senators targeted in recall drives (Alberta Darling, Dan Kapanke and Randy Hopper)." In comparison, Crossroads GPS, a conservative group,says it will spend $750,000 on national cable in total on an ad against Democrats and public-sector unions. Overall, Walker's supporters have spent $1,719,560 on ads, while the governor's opponents have spent slightly more, $1,836,290. Numbers are expected to rise if the petitions for the recalls of 14 senators is successful.

WISCONSIN GOP SENATORS HEAD TO WASHINGTON TO COLLECT THEIR PAYOFFS, ER, CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS

John Nichols reporting from The Nation:

Fitzgerald will be the "star" of a lavish fundraising event at the offices of the BRG lobbying group. The "B" is BRG stands for Barbour, as in veteran GOP fixer Haley Barbour, who is now the governor of Mississippi and a potential 2012 Republican presidential contender. The firm is one of the most powerful corporate-lobbying groups in Washington, and it will be delivering big for Fitzgerald and his fellow senators. Lobbyists and DC insiders will pay $1,000 a piece to attend the session with Fitzgerald.

Read more here.

WANGGAARD LOOKING INTO BILL TO PROHIBIT PICKETING AT PRIVATE RESIDENCE

The Journal Times.com:

After protesters picketed at Sen. Van Wanggaard's house in recent weeks, he is now looking into a bill to prohibit picketing at private residences.

"When they come to my house it's intimidating and threatening," said Wanggaard, R-Racine.

There are some local ordinances against certain picketing at private residences, he said. He would like to see it included in state statutes and is in the initial stages of drafting a proposal.

Read the full article here.

CMD SPECIAL REPORT: CONSIDER THE SOURCE: MACIVER NEWS SERVICE

10:20 a.m. - Anne Landman reporting for CMD:

The MacIver Institute, also known as the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, is a Wisconsin-based, free-market think formed in 2009 which also acts as a "news service," supplying videos and reports to media outlets, like newspapers and television broadcasters. But just who is the MacIver Institute?

In the last three years, the MacIver Institute has gotten at least $300,000 in funding from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which advocates eliminating labor unions under the guise of "restoring worker rights" and "modernizing labor laws." Harry Bradley, after whom the Foundation is named, was one of the original charter members of the 1960s right-wing extremist group, the John Birch Society, along with another Birch Society board member, Fred Koch, the father of Koch Industries' billionaire brother-owners, Charles and David Koch.

Read the full article here.

CMD REPORTS: M&I BANK IN MADISON SEES THRONGS OF PROTESTERS TUESDAY EVENING

8:45 a.m. - Erica Pelzek reporting for CMD:

M&I Bank in Madison sees throngs of protesters"Where did our money go? Down the Walker rat hole!"

Such was the popular chant Tuesday evening outside the downtown Madison Marshall and Ilsley Bank branch. Protesters rallied outside the small bank front on the Capitol Square.

M&I Bank, founded and based in Milwaukee, and its executives were top contributors to Gov. Scott Walker's campaign fund in 2010. After Walker passed the controversial "budget repair" bill, eliminating collective bargaining rights for many Wisconsin public workers, M&I Bank found itself smack-dab at the top of two boycott lists.

Read the full article here.

CMD REPORTS: RECALL GETS PERSONAL AND SENATOR'S GIRLFRIEND GETS STATE JOB

8:00 a.m. - Jennifer Page reporting for CMD:

Republican state Senator Randy Hopper now knows exactly what it feels like to have his dirty laundry aired for the world to see. It's not pretty.

The two-year senator from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin is in the midst of efforts to recall him from office for his actions against worker rights and fair procedures, and the Milwaukee-based WTMJ-TV has received a letter from his estranged wife accusing him of having an affair with a young woman he supervised. In the Wisconsin Senate, Hopper serves on the "Children and Families and Workforce Development Committee."

Read the full article here.

BREAKING NEWS, MARCH 15, 2011

GREETINGS FROM FITZWALKERSTAN: WISCONSIN GOP DENIES LEGISLATIVE DEMOCRATS VOTING RIGHTS

John Nichols reporting from The Nation:

Not content to deny state, county and municipal employees and teachers a voice in the workplace -- with legislation that takes away collective bargaining rights -- Wisconsin Republicans have now moved to deny Democratic legislators the right to vote on legislation as it is being considered by state Senate committees.

For the better part of a month, 14 Democratic state senators denied Republicans the quorum they sought to pass Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's anti-labor legislation -- and, in so doing, provided the time for the development of a mass movement that last Saturday drew more than 100,000 union supporters to the Capitol. The Democratic senators have returned and the legislation has passed.

But Republican poll numbers have collapsed. And they are furious.

How furious?

Walker and his legislative consigliere, state Senator Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, have now moved to deny the dissenting Democrats the right to participate in the legislative process.

Read more.

TUESDAY IN MADISON, M&I PROTEST PLANNED

Erica Pelzek reporting:

Marshall & Ilsey Bank is one of Scott Walker's most significant campaign funders. The bank also received $2 billion in TARP bailout funds during the financial meltdown of 2008. Now, after state Republicans pushed through a bill eliminating collective bargaining rights for many public workers in Wisconsin, many people are shining a light on Walker's biggest contributors. After several websites identified M&I Bank execs as Walker supporters, local Madisonians withdrew approximately $190,000 from their M&I accounts, intending to take it elsewhere. Students are organizing a rally outside M&I Bank in Madison Capitol Square branch, 1 W. Main Tues., March 15, at 4 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, A LITTLE BIT OF WISCONSIN IN WASHINGTON

On March 16th, Wisconsin Senate Republicans will be in Washington, D.C. receiving their payoff by corporate lobbyists and donors. There will be a protest against this fundraiser on Wednesday, details below.

WHEN: 5:00 P.M. Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WHERE: 601 13th Street NW, Washington, D.C. (Near Metro Center)

From Public Campaign Action Fund:

Wisconsin Republican lawmakers will appear at a Washington, D.C., fundraiser on March 16th hosted by one of the country's biggest lobbying firms, BGR Group, according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The lobbying firm's clients include major foreign corporations and Wisconsin Energies Corp., whose executives were major donors to Governor Scott Walker's (R-Wisc.) campaign.

Public Campaign Action Fund's review of data from the Center for the Responsive Politics and National Institute on Money in State Politics found that BGR received $320,000 to lobby for We Energies in 2009 and 2010, and that their executives donated at least $10,800 to Walker's campaign. One of the donors, Heather Liebham, is the wife of Republican State Sen. Joe Liebham. We Energies could very well benefit from a provision in Gov. Walker's budget that would privatize state-owned energy companies through no-bid contracts.

READ MORE ABOUT BGR GROUP.


Wisconsin Protests photo gallery

Live report

Bill Moyers presents "United States of ALEC," a report on the most influential corporate-funded political force most of America has never heard of -- ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.