Category Archives: Wisconson GOP

Waukesha County Clerk’s Latest Snafu Nearly a $1 Million Mistake

There is something quite rotten in the state of Wisconsin.  The following is just one more example…

Waukesha Patch

Embattled Clerk Nickolaus in hot water again after her office loses crucial letter.

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus –already under investigation for a snafu in reporting votes in the state Supreme Court election  – is coming under fire from county leaders again after an error made by her staff nearly cost the county $1 million.

The latest controversy surrounds a crucial letter that Waste Management Inc. sent to Nickolaus’ office in May regarding the expansion of a landfill the company operates in Menomonee Falls.

The letter notifying the county of the expansion should have prompted the County Board to take action to join a local committee that will have oversight over the expansion. By joining the committee, the county also will receive $1 million from Waste Management over the next decade.

However, that May 9 letter was lost by someone in the clerk’s office – even though it was delivered via certified mail and signed by someone in that office.

After not hearing from the county, Waste Management on June 29 sent a second letter to the Nickolaus’ office – and a copy to another county department. It was that department – not the clerk’s office – that ultimately brought it to the County Board.

But by the time county supervisors received the letter, the July 10 deadline for joining the committee was just around the corner. So a hastily-called County Board meeting was held on July 8 – with supervisors showing up during the lunch hour to take action on joining the committee.

County Board chairman: ‘Another flaw’

“The letter was forwarded to someone, but nobody in the clerk’s office knew who that was,” County Board Chairman Jim Dwyer said. “Yet again, it’s another flaw in the process with that office.”

County Supervisor Pat Haukohl said it appears to her the letter just got “lost in the shuffle” in the clerk’s office when it came in. But she said a County Board committee on Monday is going to review the policies and procedures in the clerk’s office.

“I can’t place blame because I can’t know for sure what happened because I wasn’t there,” Haukohl said. “But I will say that it should have definitely, definitely been forwarded. I’m concerned because a letter of that importance should have received prompt and immediate attention.”

If the board hadn’t approved the resolution on time, the county would have lost the ability to appoint two members to the  committee, which negotiates and arbitrates with Waste Management about the landfill.

The committee also deals concerns about ground water, well contamination and wear on county roads used by trucks going to the landfill.

In addition, being on the committee means the county will collect about $1 million in fees to the county from Waste Management.

Nicklaus says lack of staff was the problem

In an e-mail to Patch, Nickolaus said she didn’t realize the letter was missing until the second one was mailed and brought to her attention by the other county department. But the clerk’s office has since changed policy to make sure certified letters don’t get misplaced again.

Certified mail will no longer be placed with interdepartmental mail, and any county departments receiving certified letters now have to come to her clerks’ office to pick them up and sign for them.

Nickolaus also said her staff was overworked because of its involvement in the recount of the state Supreme Court election. The May 9 letter was delivered when the clerk’s office was overseeing the recount.

“The office was under a lot of pressure and was very understaffed due to the recount,” she said. “A request was made to the county board chairman for his staff to assist, but (we were) not given the help requested. The pressure and lack of staff may have been the reason.”

But Dwyer isn’t buying that argument.

“I do believe the letter came during the recount process,” he said. “But when she has another person signing her name to say she received something, she should have had a process in place to know where that document is going.”

Because the county runs all resolutions and ordinance through committees before approving them at the County Board level, Dwyer said officials first called the joint committee meeting at 12:15 p.m. July 8 and then held a full County Board meeting at 12:30 p.m. in order to allow supervisors to attend during lunch breaks from their full-time jobs.

He said 23 of the 25 supervisors were able to attend the meeting and they approved the resolution and the appointment of two officials to the local committee for the landfill.

Nickolaus has been heavily criticized since the state Supreme Court election in April, when she made an error in reporting the results from Brookfield. Nickolaus did not include the city of Brookfield votesin her unofficial media report on Election Night — causing challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg to declare victory.

When the mistake was discovered, it was determined that incumbent Jusitice David Prosser won the election by about 7,000 votes, a figure that was upheld after a statewide recount.

The mistake prompted accusations of misconduct by Nickolaus, who is now under investigation by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.

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Filed under Wisconsin County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, Wisconson GOP

Tammy Baldwin Asks Eric Holder To Investigate Wisconsin Supreme Court Election

Huffington Post

After the bombshell announcement that a Waukesha County clerk forgot to report thousands of votes in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court election, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) is asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to involve the federal government in the ongoing investigation.

Last Tuesday’s election, which pitted conservative incumbent David Prosser against progressive candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg, appeared to end with Kloppenburg winning by a razor-thin margin, with initial results showing her just a couple of hundred votes ahead. But on Thursday, Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus held a dramatic press conference and admitted that she had forgotten to report the votes of the city of Brookfield. The adjusted total gave Prosser a 7,500-vote advantage.

On Friday evening, Baldwin sent a letter to Holder, saying that many of her constituents had expressed concern about the announcement. She requested that the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section, which oversees the federal prosecution of election crimes, investigate the handling of Waukesha County’s vote records.

“For our democracy to endure, we, the people, must have faith in its laws and system of justice, including faith that our elections for public office are fair and free from any manipulating or tampering,” wrote Baldwin. “Following this week’s election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, numerous constituents have contacted me expressing serious doubt that this election was a free and fair one. They fear, as I do, that political interests are manipulating the results.”            

Continue reading…

 

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Filed under Wisconsin Recall Efforts, Wisconsin Supreme Court Election, Wisconson GOP

UPDATED: Conservative Waukesha County Clerk “Finds” 7,000 Votes For Prosser

Crooks & Liars

4:30pm Update: In her press conference about a half-hour ago, Kathy Nickolaus claimed she failed to import the results from Brookfield City into her master tally that was reported to the press. The numbers she reported as an ‘update’ which gave Prosser 7,000 more votes were clearly reported in real time on election night.

As expected, Brookfield city voters ran up a good turnout in the state Supreme Court race and gave incumbent Justice David Prosser nearly 11,000 votes.

Unofficial, unaudited results showed 76 percent of city residents who voted picked Prosser, with 24 percent voting for challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg.

The numbers were identical to the ones Nickolaus just reported. She claims they weren’t imported into the spreadsheet, but if that were true, the discrepancy should have been 14,715 votes total.

Part of the problem is how she’s using different numbers for the same conclusion. The difference between 14,715 and 3,456 is 7,403. Those would be the “extra”. But in order to believe her, you have to assume the AP just let an entire town and a bunch of precincts stand at ZERO despite having reported in nearly 15,000 votes.

–>End update

Sure, sure it was a computer error. This comes from County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus just a few minutes ago.

David Prosser gained about 7,582 votes in Waukesha County, according to a summary statement from the board of canvassers.

Canvassers around the state were updating their totals Thursday, with Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg each making gains.

Those changes pale in comparison to the change in Waukesha County, where Prosser’s total increased by 11,008 and Kloppenburg’s rose 3,426.

County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus is planning a news conference in about 20 minutes to explain the change from initial reports Tuesday night.

Waukesha County’s board of canvassers just met in the county courthouse in Waukesha. It was earlier reported that Prosser picked up 200 votes in New Berlin after a clerical error was discovered, according to Pat Karcher, a member of the board of canvassers in Waukesha County. Karcher spoke during a break in the canvassers meeting. The error occurred in Ward 12, where a vote for Prosser was reported as 37 but the tape revealed 237 votes for Prosser.

It seems that Kathy Nickolaus has a history with regard to questionable election practices:

The issue came to a head when Nickolaus removed the election results collection and tallying system from the county computer network this spring and installed it on standalone personal computers in her office. She has said they are backed up with redundant systems.

Director of Administration Norman A. Cummings said Nickolaus has been uncooperative with attempts to have information technologists review the system and confirm the backups.

He said he isn’t interested in placing the system on the county network, but he wants to know whether the system is functional and secure and whether the county will have to replace equipment and programs in the next budget year – in time for the next presidential election.

“It is not a good idea to have one person in charge of everything,” Cummings told the committee. “There should be someone who also reviews things. I’m not saying it should be IT. But there should be more accountability than there is now.”

Nickolaus had asked for a postponement of the discussion because she had scheduled poll worker training before the matter was scheduled for committee action.

In several memos to the committee, she said she didn’t have confidence that security wouldn’t be breached with the county’s information technology department.

She presented information from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission that said voting systems should never be connected to a network not under the election official’s control.

She also said she’s running the most current election software certified – as required – by the state.

The only old equipment, she wrote, was a computer that collects results from local polling places by modem over the telephone lines.

Waukesha County is one of three or four counties that use that method.

Read more at www.jsonline.com

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Filed under Wisconsin, Wisconsin Supreme Court Election, Wisconson GOP

Walker’s Loss: 19 Counties Flip To Dems In Wis. Supreme Court Election

Huffington Post

A divisive budget battle between labor unions and Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) turned a state Supreme Court race into a nationally watched bellwether on the electorate’s mood heading into a recall campaign and the 2012 elections.

Nearly 1.5 million people turned out to vote, representing 33.5 percent of voting-age adults – 68 percent higher than the 20 percent turnout officials had expected. JoAnne Kloppenburg has already declared victory, with the vote tallies showing her beating incumbent David Prosser by just a couple hundred votes. The race is expected to head to a recount.

Significantly, 19 counties that went for Walker in the 2010 elections this time flipped and went for Kloppenburg, including LaCrosse (59 percent), Sauk (56 percent) and Dunn (56 percent).

There were no party affiliations on the ballot, but Kloppenburg was heavily backed by Democrats and Prosser by Republicans, making it a fierce proxy battle for the two parties.

On a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon, Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate was jubilant over the results, saying they represent a “watershed moment for Wisconsin and a Waterloo for Scott Walker.”

“It should give Republicans, who are — for the moment — in the majority, pause about how they proceed in enacting Walker’s terrible budget,” he added.    

 Continue reading below the fold…

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Filed under Wisconsin, Wisconsin Protesters, Wisconsin Supreme Court Election, Wisconsin Unions, Wisconson GOP

Wisconsin Supreme Court Election Morphs Into Intense, Expensive Contest

It’s going to be a long process in determining the winner.  Here is a pretty up to date and dynamic tally.

Huffington Post

A Wisconsin Supreme Court election that offered the public its first formal opportunity to weigh in on the national fight over union rights was very close in the early Tuesday.

Initial returns showed incumbent Justice David Prosser locked in a virtual dead heat with challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg. An assistant state attorney general, Kloppenburg began her campaign with almost no name recognition and faced what looked like an uphill fight against Prosser.

But her campaign has surged in recent days as her supporters worked to focus anger over Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s divisive collective bargaining law onto the conservative-leaning Prosser. The law’s opponents hope a Kloppenburg victory will tilt the Supreme Court to the left and set the stage for the court to strike down the law. Election officials in Madison and Milwaukee have noted higher voter interest in what would have been an otherwise sleepy contest.

The measure strips most public workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights. Walker has said the move is needed to help balance the state’s budget. Democrats say it’s designed to cripple unions, which are among their strongest campaign supporters, and tens of thousands of people spent weeks at the state Capitol protesting the plan.

The law eventually passed, but is on hold as legal challenges make their way through the courts. Many expect the state Supreme Court ultimately will decide the issue.

The seven-member high court is officially nonpartisan. But Prosser, who is seeking a second 10-year term, is seen as part of a conservative four-justice majority. Kloppenburg’s allies have presented her as an alternative that would tilt the court’s ideological balance to the left.

Prosser has told The Associated Press he doesn’t necessarily agree with the law. Still, bitter Democrats have portrayed him as a Walker clone, helping Kloppenburg’s campaign gain traction over the last few weeks.

Pat Heiser, 76, said the union struggles weighed heavily on her decision to vote for Kloppenburg.

“I think collective bargaining should be a human right,” Heiser said. “We’re not slaves anymore; that ended in the 1860s.”

Continued here…

Prosser’s campaign: http://www.justiceprosser.com

Kloppenburg’s campaign: http://www.kloppenburgforjustice.com

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Filed under Wisconsin Democrat Senators, Wisconsin Supreme Court Election, Wisconsin Union Law Court Ruling, Wisconson Capitol, Wisconson GOP

Walker Administration Announces Implementation Of Anti-Union Law, Despite Judge’s Order Against Publication

"What court order? We won't honor no stinkin' court order!"

The madness of King Scott Walker of Fitzwalkerstan!

TPMDC

The administration of Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) has begun implementing its controversial new law curtailing public employee unions, following a move on Friday declaring it be in effect, and despite a judge’s ruling that enjoined said implementation.

“It is now my legal responsibility to begin enactment of the law,” Secretary of Administration Mike Huebsch, a former Republican state Assembly Speaker, told reporters, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Huebsch said that the state will begin withholding pension and health benefits contributions from government employees’ paychecks, while also no longer automatically deducting union dues. The first paychecks to be affected will be April 21.

A week and a half ago, a judge in Dane County (Madison) blocked the law on procedural grounds, ruling that a key conference committee used to advance the bill — and to get around the state Senate Dems’ walkout from the state — had violated the state open-meetings law by failing to give proper 24-hours notice. The judge’s order “restrain[ed] and enjoin[ed] the further implementation” of the law, including the prevention of Secretary of State Doug LaFollette (D) from publishing the act in the Wisconsin State Journal, which acts as the state’s official newspaper for the purpose of giving the public official notice of new laws — the final step for the law to take effect. That decision is now going through an appeals process, which remains up in the air.    Read more…

 

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Filed under Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Anti-Union Legislation, Wisconsin Protesters, Wisconsin Unions, Wisconson GOP

Wisconsin Union Law Should Be Considered By State Supreme Court: Appeals Court Rules

Huffington Post

A Wisconsin appeals court says the state Supreme Court should decide whether a law that takes away nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers should be allowed to take effect.

A majority of the seven-member Supreme Court must agree to take it or it would remain in the appeals court.

The 4th District Court of Appeals said Thursday it is appropriate for the state’s highest court to take the case because it presents significant issues that are likely to end up before the Supreme Court anyhow.

A Dane County judge issued an order last week preventing Secretary of State Doug La Follette from publishing the law, saying Republicans violated the state open meetings law when passing it.

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Filed under Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin Anti-Union Legislation, Wisconsin Unions, Wisconson Capitol, Wisconson Fiscal Crisis, Wisconson GOP

Wisconsin Senator’s girlfriend had help getting job

Randy Hopper

Image via Wikipedia

So much for family values and all the  propaganda that goes with the family value meme

Once again, the utter hypocrisy of Republican values comes shining through via the Gov. Scott Walker twisted governing.

Milwaukee - Wisconsin Journal Sentinel

Even though the state is supposedly broke, top officials in Gov. Scott Walker’s team were able to scrape together enough money to give a state job to the woman identified as Sen. Randy Hopper’s girlfriend.

Anything for a political ally.

Valerie Cass, a former Republican legislative staffer, was hired Feb. 7 as a communications specialist with the state Department of Regulation and Licensing. She is being paid $20.35 per hour. The job is considered a temporary post.

Cass previously had worked in the state Senate and for the GOP campaign consulting firm Persuasion Partners in Madison. She also was paid for campaign work for the state Republican Party and U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner before that.

“Ms. Cass’ name was among many forwarded to DRL by the Governor’s Transition Team as potential candidates for positions with the department,” said David Carlson, the agency’s spokesman.

But who exactly recommended her for the post?

Cullen Werwie, spokesman for the governor, confirmed that it was Keith Gilkes, Walker’s chief of staff. She was then interviewed by the Department of Regulations and Licensing’s executive assistant and deputy and hired by Secretary Dave Ross, a Walker cabinet member.

An internal staff directory lists Cass as working in the secretary’s office as the assistant to the executive assistant.

Werwie said Gilkes did not recommend her as a favor to the first-term lawmaker, who voted for the governor’s controversial budget-repair bill earlier this month.   Continue reading…

 

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Filed under Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin Assembly, Wisconson Capitol, Wisconson GOP

Wisconsin GOP Senators Head to Washington to Collect Their Payoffs, er, “Campaign Contributions “

No matter how those politicians try to cover it up, most GOP and Blue Dog Dems are corporate shills.  They legislate at the will of their corporate masters…

The Nation

Wisconsin state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, the consigliere for Governor Scott Walker in the legislative fight to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public workers and to make it easier for the governor to transfer public property to campaign donors in no-bid deals, will head to the nation’s capital Wednesday to collect tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from Washington-based lobbyists for corporate interests.

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 apiece to attend the session with Fitzgerald.

“Sponsors” will pay $2,500.

“Hosts” will pay $5,000.

Along with Fitzgerald, who this week made news when he attempted to bar Democratic senators from voting in Assembly committees (only to be forced to back off after the move stirred a public outcry), Republican senators Glenn Grothman and Alberta Darling will attend. Both Grothman and Darling—who chairs the powerful legislative Joint Finance Committee and is thus the point person for Walker’s budget plan—are the targets of recall campaigns.   Continue reading…

 

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Filed under GOP Lobbyist "Fundraisers", Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Protesters, Wisconson GOP

The Suicide Of The Republican Party

Keith Olbermann’s FOK (Friends of Keith) News

Still having never learned to be calm, retract their claws, and sit around and act rationally in a situation that calls for panic, Wisconsin’s Republicans and their Corporate Puppeteers tonight guaranteed themselves an unprecedented and disastrous recall next January.

More over, they also guaranteed themselves that any cloak of stealth under which they have operated in their attacks on teachers, firefighters, policemen, unions, and the settled law of collective bargaining, has been stripped away. If you pass a supposedly urgent “budget repair” bill with key budget components cut from it, you forfeit the fiction that you are doing anything remedial, anything essential, anything except a naked power grab on behalf of corporations who will get the money stolen from organized labor – civic or private.

And further, when you accomplish all this by parliamentary trick – after your national party has spent two years and more decrying Congressional reconciliation – when you deny the minority the right to participate in the outcome whether by compromise or protest, you cut through the cacophony of political-speak in this country and you transmit your sneering indifference towards democracy to ordinary citizens who do not normally pay attention.     More…

Edit: (Emphasis are mine)

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Filed under GOP, GOP Agenda, Wisconsin Assembly, Wisconsin Capitol Police, Wisconsin Protesters, Wisconsin Public Service Employees' Protests, Wisconson Capitol, Wisconson Fiscal Crisis, Wisconson GOP