By James Wigderson
Special Guest Perspective for the MacIver Institute
If an election crime is committed in Milwaukee County, does it make a sound? On Monday last week, a group called Wisconsin Jobs Now! held a pair of get-out-the-vote parties where then were loaded up on buses and taken to Milwaukee’s city hall to vote early and hopefully not vote often.
To attract people to the parties, Wisconsin Jobs Now! gave away free chicken and ribs dinners from long-time Milwaukee favorite Speed Queen Bar-B-Q. To put the free meals in perspective, Speed Queen has a reputation as one of the best rib places in southeast Wisconsin. If you haven’t had their ribs before, I strongly suggest using the drive-through and not waiting for the next Democratic Party-aligned group begging for votes. The ribs are almost good enough to make me want to move to Sandy Pasch’s assembly district so I can vote for her.
Unfortunately, while Speed Queen’s ribs taste good, they are not really free. A rib dinner from Speed Queen costs $9.82 – cash only please. A chicken dinner costs $8.49. Not bad prices, but the costs run afoul of Wisconsin’s law prohibiting giving something of value to get someone to vote.
A person who “Offers, gives, lends or promises to give or lend, or endeavors to procure, anything of value, or any office or employment or any privilege or immunity to, or for, any elector, or to or for any other person…” to vote is violating the law. Anything of value is anything that is worth more than $1. Rides to the polls are specifically exempted from the law.
I think the $1 limit was exceeded with the bread and coleslaw.
Making the case even more interesting are the ties between State Rep. Pasch’s senate campaign and the group giving away the delicious food. Let’s try to take you through the flowchart.
Wisconsin Jobs Now shares an office and a phone number with Citizen Action, another liberal organization that is also helping Pasch’s campaign. The treasurer for Wisconsin Jobs Now! is also the political director for Citizen Action.
Where’s Sandy? Sandy Pasch is on the board of directors for Citizen Action, as is her campaign treasurer Jackie Boynton. Boynton is also the treasurer for Citizen Action.
Looking at the connections, the situation reminds us of a scene from the Godfather Part II:
Senator Pat Geary: Mr. Cici, was there always a buffer involved?
Willi Cici: A what?
Senator Pat Geary: A buffer. Someone in between you and your possible superiors who passed on to you the actual order to kill someone.
Willi Cici: Oh yeah, a buffer. The family had a lot of buffers!
Of course, that was a full-blown Congressional investigation. We should be seeing something similar here.
Given all of the ties between the three organizations, the Pasch campaign, Citizen Action, and Wisconsin Jobs Now!, and the visual evidence of a nice feast for those who attended Wisconsin Jobs Now’s get-out-the-vote parties, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm should be filing warrants for phone records by now. The usual suspects should be rounded up and brought to the County Courthouse for interrogation. It should be an amazing site, right?
Not exactly. The DA’s office did announce that they were going to vigorously investigate whether Wisconsin Right to Life gave bonuses to volunteers who were signing up people to vote absentee. That’s right. Not whether WRTL is bribing any voters, but whether the volunteers were rewarded for their efforts to turn out the vote.
That would be like the NCAA ignoring colleges that are giving cash to student athletes but going after athletic directors for giving raises to football coaches that attract star athletes legitimately.
By that standard, I’d expect Chisholm’s office to announce the arrest of every paid political campaign operative in the Milwaukee County jurisdiction. I expect the SWAT team will be breaking down the doors of that dangerous criminal Jeff Fleming any minute now. My advice to law enforcement is to take no chances…
We learned Friday that other case involving the alleged bribing of voters might not be pursued with as much vigor. According to Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf, the DA’s office couldn’t do much about the case because the witness was remaining anonymous. Without even beginning the investigation, Landgraf told the MacIver News Service, “The people who got the free stuff are never very cooperative.”
To be fair to Landgraf, no doubt some of the evidence in this case has already made its way into the care and handling of the Metro Milwaukee Sewerage District.
However, somebody had to order the ribs and chicken from Speed Queen and pay for it. It’s likely the city of Milwaukee has surveillance footage of everyone who entered city hall that day, including the Wisconsin Jobs Now! staff wearing their official shirts. There’s the visual evidence from the website announcing the free food from Speed Queen.
In addition to those facts, the Milwaukee DA’s office would have to ignore the public statements by Wisconsin Jobs Now! and Citizen Action defending the food-giveaways to entice voters. They’re actually accusing those who are calling for an investigation of trying to suppress the vote.
So we have hard evidence and public confessions by the leadership of the organizations in question that the food giveaways did actually happen at the get-out-the-vote events. Add in the ties between all of the organizations and the case would seem irresistible to a district attorney, especially when an expert from the Government Accountability Board, Peter Pickett, has already said to the MacIver News Service that giving food prior to offering a ride to the polls would be illegal.
Did I mention that Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm is a Democrat who has given money to Pasch’s election efforts in the past?
So a complaint is filed against an organization that does not have friends in the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office, and that organization is vigorously investigated regardless of the frivolous nature of the complaint. When a complaint is filed with all of the evidence above indicates that a serious breach of our state’s election laws has occurred, but the candidate in question is supported by Chisholm, the Milwaukee District Attorney’s office turns into all three of the see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil monkeys.
The good news for those of you who care about justice in the defense of election integrity, Media Trackers announced on Friday that their anonymous source would talk to the district attorney’s office. Hopefully this will force the district attorney’s nose into the matter like an un-housebroken puppy.