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WI GOP Sex, Lies and Ethics Violations: recall senators attempt to avoid elections.

Bye Bye GOP Senate majority.

Madison, WI. By Patrick DePula.

Showing signs of sheer desperation, three GOP senators up for recall elections on July 12 have now resorted to asking the courts to stop the election citing dubious alleged “irregularities” in the filing of recall petitions.Never mind the wholesale recall petition fraud perpetrated by the Wisconsin Republican Party; substantiated with scores of affidavits and reports of dead people signing their names, felons stealing items while circulating papers, and the involvement of a shady out of state group that helped organize the republican efforts against democrats.

From the Wisconsin State Journal:

State Sens. Dan Kapanke, R-La Crosse; Luther Olsen, R-Ripon; and Randy Hopper, R-Fond du Lac, all want judges to block the state Government Accountability Board from calling elections based on the recall petitions filed in April by groups seeking to recall the GOP senators.

Clearly, they know they are in trouble.  Two of these senators, adherents of the GOP “family values” mantra,  are essentially the crippled sheep in the Republican herd. Easy pickings if you will.  The third is simply guilty of supporting union busting. Let’s take a look.

Sen. Hopper and his mistress, Valerie Cass

Sen. Randy Hopper, R- Fon du Lac -Fortunate Son shacks up with young mistress, lives in Madison.

Sen. Randy Hopper began his political career by winning his race in a 163 vote “landslide.” A member of the northern Wisconsin gentry, Hopper is the owner of Mountain Dog Media, a radio station and broadcasting company that owns Fon du Lac’s two major radio stations, KFIZ (1450) and WFON (107.1)  In addition, Mountain Dog owns WCLB (950) in Sheboygan and Chilton‘s WMBE (1530). It is more than likely that Mr. Hopper was the recipient of generous seed capital from his wealthy father, William Hopper, whose grandfather had founded Hopper Papers,  a company eventually sold to Koch Brothers-owned paper giant Georgia Pacific.  After selling the company and staying on a few years, Randy’s dad bought a majority stake in a small bank in Taylorville, IL and grew his interests to $150 million. The bank then merged with another banking firm in Springfield, Ill. When that combined company grew to $2 billion in assets, it merged once again with another bank, and that’s when Hopper sold out. He also owns/owned a 50% stake in a string of Illinois car dealerships.  My point is that young Randy is no self-made man.  He was born of privilege and grew up in Taylorville, IL while summering on a lake estate in Arbor Vitae, WI- the same lake that is home to Standard Oil’s lavish former retreat, Red Crown Lodge.  Sen. Hopper has little in common with the average Wisconsinite he pretends to represent.

In March of this year, recall volunteers accidentally knocked on his door and encountered Hopper’s estranged wife who was more than happy to announce that “Randy doesn’t live here anymore.  He’s living in Madison with his 26 year old mistress Valerie Cass”. She then wrote a letter to Milwaukee radio station WTMJ confirming her statement. Imagine the shock! According to Mrs. Hopper,  Randy began having an affair with the then 25 year old Cass who at the time was employed as an aide to  Senator Ted Kanavas (R-Brookfield). After Senator Kanavas decided against another run,  Ms. Cass became employed by the aptly named political consulting firm “Persuasion Partners, Inc.”  Incidentally, Persuasion Partners counts as one of its clients the Koch brothers-funded front Americans For ProsperityYet another Koch connection to a Wisconsin legislator. To make matters worse, it appears that Sen. Hopper may have used his political connections to secure a sweetheart deal of a job for his mistress in the Walker Administration, circumventing the civil service process.  Regardless of your political persuasion, is this the type of man that would be inclined to represent the average citizen? Or would he be more at home championing the cause of corporations?

Sen. Dan Kapanke

Sen. Dan Kapanke, R-La Crosse – Ethically Challenged and Paid no Taxes.

In August of 2010, Wisconsin State Senator Dan Kapanke admitted to “unintentionally” violating the state ethics codeby using his lobbyist funded charity as a personal slush fund to pay for improvements to the LaCrosse Logger’s Baseball Park. He and his wife own the LaCrosse Loggers, a summer collegiate baseball team.. The payments from the LaCrosse Logger’s Foundation to the City of LaCrosse totaled about $32,000 against a  $225,000 loan.

In 2009, Government Accountability Board representative Jonathan Becker said  Sen. Kapanke should not have used campaign funds for two “Economic Forums”. This was after the Democratic Party of Wisconsin filed a lawsuit asserting that his staff improperly coordinated the forums. The board declined to take action against Kapanke, but fined his aid who worked at the second campaign-sponsored event.  Kapanke took responsibility for the actions of his aid and agreed that he shouldn’t have used campaign funds for those activities. The party twice requested records about the event and each time was told they did not exist.  During testimony as part of the Democratic party suit, a top Kapanke aide admitted that she routinely used personal email for state work. The state’s Technology Services Bureau recovered information from a backup that confirmed that Kapanke had been sending work related emails to a yahoo email address. Rose Smyrski, Kapanke’s chief of staff and capitol employee since 2000,  incredulously stated that she never received open records training and that she didn’t check her personal email in response to the Democratic Party open records request.

Once again, Kapanke maintained that this was an “honest mistake”.  He seems to make lots of “honest mistakes” involving campaign-related financial issues and obscuring information. In Sept, 2009 the taxpayers of Wisconsin paid $38,000 to settle his legal fees as a result of the suit. It should be noted that taxes to average Wisconsin citizens increased under his watch while he himself paid nothing in 2008. Full information about Kapanke ethics issues and the source article is here.

Sen. Luther Olsen

Sen. Luther Olsen, R- Ripon.

Sen. Luther Olsen has long been considered one of the more moderate republicans in the legislature. In the early stages of the Wisconsin Uprising, Sen Olsen was one of the very few republicans who expressed reservations about removing the collective bargaining rights of unions. “The concept is pretty radical,” he said.  ”It affects a lot of good working people.” Olsen said he could support the changes on pensions and health care but had reservations about taking away other bargaining rights.  That spark of independence died when he voted lock-step with the Walker machine ultimately setting himself up for recall.

GOP Recall Organizers Call for Chief Election Referee to Resign

Finally, in another blatant act of desperation, the Wisconsin Republican Party recall organizers are calling for Kevin Kennedy, the Executive Director of the Government Accountability Board, to resign. The GAB is tasked with overseeing elections in Wisconsin and has been given the monumental task of certifying 9 simultaneous recall elections. This is unprecedented. Wisconsin republicans are crying foul because all recall elections against the GOP have been certified, while serious questions remain about the validity of the signatures collected by out of state firms against the democrats. In at least several cases it appears that signatures were forged from information contained within phone books. Most notably, the signature of the long deceased father of Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan appeared on one set of papers turned in by republican operatives.

The recall elections were scheduled for July 12th.



37 Responses to “WI GOP Sex, Lies and Ethics Violations: recall senators attempt to avoid elections.”
  1. Kath the Scrappy says:

    I’m glad the WI GAB is allowed more time to carefully assess the recall petitions against the Dems, there seriously seems to be a LOT of fraud and dirty signatures. But still wondering whether, by having 6 Repub recalls one week and the 3 Dem recalls (IF & big IF Dem recalls are certified) the next week, will make any differences in how the voters vote. (Just being a Nervous Nelly here.)

    Also, with high WI unemployment and Repubs spending their money on out-of-state signature gatherers, would that tend to turn many unemployed Repub off from voting for the Repub efforts?

    Judge grants elections board extra time to evaluate Dem recall petitions

    A Dane County judge on Friday gave the state Government Accountability Board another week to analyze challenges to recall petitions against three Democratic state senators, likely setting recall elections against those senators a week behind elections for six of their Republican colleagues.

    Circuit Judge John Markson also denied a motion by Republicans to delay certification of recall petitions against the six Republican senators, saying that it was not his job to tell the GAB how to do theirs. ..snipped..

  2. Winski says:

    Hummm.. Maybe these rethuglicons have been studying the news?? The REAL news…but studying is hard for them so maybe someone put together a quick learning guide “World News for Stupid People”.. because these rethuglicons sound EXACTLY like the current regime in power in IRAN!! If you go back and look at the result of the last election in IRAN, the winners were actually ‘erased’ and the current regime just stayed put. After that, the current regime ‘nullified’ the elections, citing dubious alleged “irregularities”… SAME WORDS they are trying to use…

    NOW, a number of IRANIAN politicians, activists and others have been arrested and imprisoned for working with ‘witchcraft’ to try and harm existing members of the government. Has anyone in Wisconsin been arrested by the State Police for ‘Shady dealings with witchcraft to influence election of officials” ????

    Kinda sounds like something that may start happening in Walker’s Wisconsin… sounds like a very strange place now days… Walker and Ahmadinejad do actually look alike… it’s just the beard..

  3. PaPa23 says:

    Well done Patrick. It never ceases to amaze me that when you dig into the backgrounds of Republican politicians and their campaigns you invariably find some tie to the Koch brothers or Koch businesses. It might be direct campaign contributions, it might be business ties or it might be support from the Americans for Prosperity type Koch funded groups but somehow there is always that connection. I’ve come to the conclusion that the GOP is really the KOP.

  4. Zyxomma says:

    Thanks for keeping us up to date, Patrick.

  5. yukonbushgrma says:

    Patrick — This is a teeny bit OT, but it is a WI question.

    What is your take on Kloppenburg’s decision not to challenge the SC election certification? She came right out and said that there were serious irregularities, then conceded in the same breath. I was really hoping she would follow it through.

    I read that the election wasn’t to be certified until the Minutes of all 72 counties were received and reviewed. They certified anyway, despite the fact that Waukesha County’s Minutes hadn’t been turned in yet!

    I just don’t get it.

    • leenie17 says:

      Something I’ve been wondering about too. Perhaps it’s the financial burden of continuing to contest the election that caused Kloppenburg to concede.

      As much as I hate to see her lose, I’m even more concerned about the many serious irregularities of the election not being challenged and the process not being cleaned up. Being allowed to get away with blatantly breaking all sorts of rules and procedures will only encourage them to find even more ways to cheat in the future. If they know they will not be punished even when they’re caught, there is no incentive for following the rules when it means you might lose the election.

      It also relates directly to the disregard for laws demonstrated by the Republican party when collecting signatures for the recall. It’s all part of the same sleazy, dirty process where those on the right ignore the rules to insure a win at any cost.

  6. Patrick, thank you for the update on the Wisconsin recall elections. And kudos to all who worked so hard to get those petitions signed, and signed properly, unlike the repubs who were stupid enough to hire people from outside the state. It just shows how desperate they are to save their necks after misjudging the voters of Wisconsin so badly. Actually, it serves them right.

    I do agree with Bob on the point that I don’t want to know all the personal details of elected officials’ lives. However, when their actions directly conflict with their political message or their job, then they have opened that door and their poor behavior is the business of the voters and all the rest of us who might be affected by what they do while in office. We are forced to cross that line because they (mostly the repbubs and TPers) insist on telling the rest of us how to conduct our private lives in the form of legislation.

  7. Bob Benner says:

    Can we just talk about issues and not about who’s shacking up with who??? Sheesh…

    • Bob Benner says:

      I almost forgot, Valerie does look a bit like Monica, but who really gives a flying turkey???

    • Kath the Scrappy says:

      Actually, the more important question is Why is the dude not even living in the community he’s supposed to be representing? Not to mention, all the so-called “Family Values” crap Republicans keep banging their drums about. That’s why Gays shouldn’t marry, don’t you know, because it would ruin all the pseudo Happy Marriages in the country. I happen to be straight myself, but could never understand the rhetoric.

      As a Dem, I supported John Edwards. Even gave to his campaign late the night before – I woke up the next morning to hear his Goodbye speech. Shocked, I tell ya! He dumped his wife for a younger version. So, we don’t like hearing all the “Family Values” hypocrisy – – from EITHER side. I was disappointed with Clinton’s behavior as well but he at least wasn’t working hell bent on dismantling the country while getting a bj like this Wisconsin Dude.

      I think the discussion of this ol’ rich guy Hopper dumping his wife for a very much younger woman is a reasonable piece of the discussion. If he doesn’t practice his “Family Values” why would he value any promises he makes to constituents?

      • tigerwine says:

        Hey, Scrappy! Llike you, I’m really, really tired of hearing the old “family values” meme. Whenever I hear a campaigner go on about this, I say to myself “Look out – he’s cheating on his wife!”

        • Lilybart says:

          Just like those who try to Pray Away teh Gay, are almost ALWAYS in the closet…see Marcus Bachmann. THAT Bachmann. Go to google images and see if your gaydar doesn’t go off!

      • bubbles says:

        i agree Scrappy.

    • Hi Bob,

      The reason it became news is that A. recall workers knocked on his door by accident, then were shocked because his wife and maid signed the recall papers. Then offered up the fact that he’s living in Madison, not his district.

      B. Turns out that he DID have an address in his district that was described by his staffer as an apartment. After investigating, it turns out that the “apartment” is the 600K house of one of his senior media company employees.

      C. Then, he went and helped furnish his sweetie a job, at a huge increase in pay, and she didn’t have to go through the civil service system like everyone else.

      D. He’s a god fearing christian republican that demands of others what he himself is unable to do.

      • leenie17 says:

        Hypocrisy, thy name is Republican.

        Thanks, Patrick, for keeping us updated on what’s happening in Wisconsin. While most of us do not live there nor are we directly affected, the recent legislation introduced by Republican governors and other legislators around the country shows us that something rotten in one state can easily spread to another.

        We need to stop this infection as soon as possible so that it stays confined and can be healed.

    • Ed says:

      Like that bumper sticker says on those Granite Construction rigs: “Character Matters”.

    • mike from iowa says:

      Not to be argumentative,but since you brought up Monica,let’s briefly consider the zeal Rethugs used to bring down the Clinton presidency(for lying about O#$@ S#$) and the zeal they used to protect Bush and Cheney for lies about invading Iraq and crimes against humanity,outing a covert CIA agent and endangering her,her family and all her contacts around the world(and lying about firing anyone in the administration found to have taken part) and the list is too long to show here.Why were Rethuglicans allowed to lower the impeachment standards for Clinton and then raise them so high for Bush that nothing Bush did was even considered illegal by Conservatives?

      • mike from iowa says:

        I apologize to Mudflats for getting off topic and I should be tied up and whipped for punishment.

        • bubbles says:

          not off topic. good argument.
          now where’ d i put that there cat-o-nine tails of mine and them pink handcuffs?

      • Lilybart says:

        IOKIYAR….It’s OK if you are Republican….applies to many things like being on all the talk shows even though you have been wrong about everything? IOKIYAR,

  8. Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

    Thanks for a good update. But what is the strategy going forward to counter this move to obstruct the recalls? I would like to hear more about that unless it is not yet ready for publication.

    the problem child – Repubs are playing dirty? when have they not played dirty from Richard Nixon on?

    The reason 30% of the electorate are dedicated republicans is that they somehow contrive to convince themselves that greed and power equals power and greed and they are each reaping a bit of it. 99% of them aren’t of course but they are so enamored of their superiority that they not only do not understand how precarious their position is but they literally do not care because everything will be worked out in their favor since they are the chosen.

    We think we are powerless to affect the massive forces that are so poorly characterized as to both their fragility and the cowardly nature of the BPOE. All we have to do is stop paying. Yes things will
    get rough, but maybe not as rough as they would be in a years time when the oligarchs have taken over 99% of the world’s wealth leaving us to squirmish in trash bins for spoilt food and carry home polluted water in discarded buckets.

    I apologize to mudflatters for being so pessimistic, but if anything, I think I am understating what we confront.

    • bubbles says:

      if anything, I think I am understating what we confront.
      yes you are.
      America better wake up fast and join Wisconsin. the reactionary Supreme Court has already sold us into slavery to the ‘Corporate’ oligarchy. America as we knew it has ceased to exist and the sacrifices made by our military in the second world war has come to naught. Naziism disguised as Christianity has won.

      • Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

        Bubbles, sorry can’t get videos over my satellite downlink too feeble, but I get the gist of what you are saying. The supreme court is not reactionary it is corrupt. Roberts passed muster because he lied to congress and asserted affirmatively that he would act as an umpire yet when citizens united came up he too unilateral action and expanded an otherwise narrow question to one that was all encompassing and essentially controverted over 100 years of precedence and gave personhood to coporations. Clarence Thomas has lied for years about income paid to his wife on federal financial disclosure forms because he KNEW they represented a conflict of interest over which he would be required to recuse himself, once again WRT citizens united but also WRT many other cases. Worse still, he benefitted directly by investing in his wifes new lobbying group which was founded on the prior knowledge of how CU would be decided. Anthony Weiner is going after him for this criminal behavior and now the right wing is trying desperately to smear him. It is working in a limited way because none of the media reports of the great scandal perpetrated by Andrew Breitbart et alia, has mentioned any of the back ground facts at all, let alone that Thomas is a felon.

        I am definitely understating how bad things are. The right wing has carte blanche to lie and smear and they are 100% supported by the corporate media.

        Our problem is complex and we are definately in a dire situation. We can correct it ourselves if we wake up tothe scam, but there seems little hope that will happen in the near future. If, however, the greed and lust for power exceeds the practical limits of the remainded of the world and catastrophe results, the world will hold us to account. That will be a sorry day indeed, but a welcome one in the sole respect of anyone who has any love of freedom and liberty.

        The way the vaunted 4th estate is treating Palin is like an Ad agency extolling the merits of
        Thalidomide for morning sickness. The only way we can stop them is to put them out of business and then out of circulation.

        Am I hopeful? NO. Am I resigned to defeat? NO. Am I going to give up, not no but hell no.

  9. PollyinAK says:

    In the ’08 campaign, I kept track of where McCain/Palin were scheduled for their town halls. Two days prior, I sent “letters to the editor” to the local newspapers. I wrote diplomatically that SP wasn’t qualified to be POTUS. I forget which city now, but I saw one of my letters published in a WI newspaper.

  10. PollyinAK says:

    We can all learn from the Wisconsin folks. Thank you for the report!

  11. Kath the Scrappy says:

    Great reporting Patrick! I too have been following this closely and have donated a few times to each of the new Dems that are running. Looks like you folks have found some EXCELLENT responsible looking candidates.

    You give the best coverage of anyone I’ve been able to find for updates! Keep them coming.

  12. NickWI says:

    I could see a 20-13 Dem Senate if the Repubs continue being the mindless dolts they’ve been so far this year. any half-way sane party would have dropped the collective bargaining stuff and take the monetary cncessions, but the modern Repub party doesn’t work that way.

  13. 1smartcanerican says:

    Close to speechless here. What a crew you have described!

  14. tigerwine says:

    Thanks, Patrick, for keeping us informed on the recalls. I am following this closely, and this is the best place of all to keep up-to-date!

  15. Waay Out West says:

    Sounds like he should be called hankypanky not Dan.

    • LibertyLover says:

      Danky-panky? 😉

    • Sofyadeb says:

      Dan Kapanke was taped in a meeting with GOP leadership saying he had LOTS of government workers in his district and he hoped they slept through the election. Well, my government worker husband is setting his alarm for July 12 and he’ll be sure to call his government coworkers to make sure they hit the polls on the way to work.

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