We the People

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Politics and civil commentary with community columnist John Eyster.

John W. Eyster: John Doe case continuing review, not closed!

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By John W. Eyster
Monday, June 23, 2014

Last Monday, June 16, WI Governor Scott Walker is reported to have asserted that Democrat MARY BURKE who is running for Governor needed a lesson in “Government 101.”  Consider this report from the Racine Journal Times, “Burke said Monday that Walker is waffling on whether he believes gay couples should be able to get married in Wisconsin. But Walker says his position is clear and Burke needs a lesson in "Government 101" because she doesn't understand the governor can't arbitrarily change the constitution.”

I am NOW going to assert that Republican Governor Scott Walker himself needs a lesson in “Government 101”!  Specifically the unit on the JUDICIARY!  Scott is just plain not aware of the FULL process of the State and Federal court systems.  Remember:  We have both a state and a federal court system with the Constitutional principle of FEDERALISM.

I appreciated the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s careful analysis of the judicial situation in its editorial published yesterday, “Walker should be careful what he wishes for.”

Speaking the TRUTH, the editorial tells Walker that his assertion about the John Doe that the case is done/closed/finished, is simply not true.  Direct quote, “Well, sorry, governor, but that simply isn't true.”

I urge readers to carefully follow the analysis of the editorial to gain FULL awareness of the ACTUAL situation in our judicial system as of NOW – June 20, 2014.  And then comment as to YOUR interpretation.

The editorial reminds Scott and the rest of us that the case is currently under review by the federal appeals court with decision pending.  The editorial notes, “That could be a while, which means that this story is far from over. Nor should it be.”

The editorial continues with its astute analysis of the REAL situation for the benefit of Scott and the rest of us, “We think Randa should have not shut down a duly commissioned state investigation into the campaigns. The prosecutors, with affinities for both parties, were simply doing their jobs: State law limits what outside groups such as the Wisconsin Club for Growth can do.  Such groups are supposed to remain independent of campaigns; they cannot strategize with candidates.”

It asserts that Judge Randa’s ruling was stunning for its overreach, noting, “He ordered the investigation shut down and found that only "express advocacy" — that is, explicitly urging people to vote for or against a candidate — was subject to state limits and control.”

I agree with the Editorial’s interpretation of the real consequences if our WI LAW is UNConstitutional, “The end of a coordination ban would create a ‘dark’ system of campaign funding. The entire election campaign could be conducted in secret. Money raised for the campaign could be funneled into tax-exempt ‘social welfare’ groups that don't have to disclose their donors, meaning voters would have even less of a chance than they do today of weighing potential motivations. How can the public know who a politician is working for if voters can't tell who is paying for an election?”

Don’t miss the informative review of legal commentary regarding our WI LAW.

I agree with the continuing argument in the editorial, “The Club and other groups at all points on the political spectrum are free to say whatever they want. But limits on spending long have been recognized as a brake on corruption or the appearance of it in politics. And in balancing the rights of individuals to privacy when they've entered the public fray with the right of the public to know who is influencing its leaders, we side with the public's right to know.”

I share the editorial’s concern, “Those who like the idea of Walker being able to coordinate unlimited campaign fund-raising and advertising spending with business lobbies and billionaire conservatives who do business with the government might not be as comfortable with the idea of Democratic candidates coordinating unlimited fund-raising and advertising with unions and billionaire liberals who do business with the government. Or with any politicians coordinating their fund-raising and advertising strategies with billionaires and business interests from foreign countries.”

The editorial warns, “Walker and his allies should be careful what they wish for as this case progresses through the courts.” 

I HOPE the COURTS maintain protections for the campaign and election process in WISCONSIN!  What do YOU hope?

John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor assigned with the online/distance education faculty of Viterbo University, LaCrosse. He continues his personal mission supporting democracy/civics education in Wisconsin K-12 schools through Project Citizen, We the People, Discovering Democracy (Milton HS). John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff or management.

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