If there’s two things that Political Progressives loves to blog about the most, it would have to be corruption in government and hypocrisy.
Wait, wasn’t that the first line of our last post on Political Progressives? Indeed it was. But it seems like Wisconsin Republicans must be reading out blog, because they continue to contribute some of the greatest instances of combined corruption and hypocrisy seen in government in years.
This time the source of corruption doesn’t come from our dear friend, Gov. Scott Walker. Instead, it comes from Kleefisch – but probably not the one you’re thinking of. Although we could (and probably will) do a post on some of the insanely stupid things Wisconsin Lieutenant Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch has said over the years, today’s spotlight shines on her husband, WI Rep. Joel Kleefisch of Oconomowoc. Don’t worry, he’s just as ‘impressive’ as his wife.
Before we get to the main point of the post, it’s important to note that Rep. Kleefisch was one of the most advocate supporters of the Voter ID Bill, which Gov. Walker signed into law just in time to apply to the recent primary elections. We’ll be doing a post recently sharing our writer’s experience with the new law – but the important thing is that Kleefisch fought tooth and nail to force Wisconsin voters to have to show their ID at the polls before they were handed a ballot.
Okay, now that we’ve got the backstory, check out this YouTube video titled “Proof of Voter Fraud in the Wisconsin State Assembly”. Our favorite moment is the spot right at the end where it looks like Kleefisch realizes he’s on Candid Camera and nearly shits himself.
So in case you missed it, that was Rep. Kleefisch voting himself, then reaching over and voting over for the absent Rep. Paul Farrow, then a third time for the absent Rep. Dean Knudson (who was also an outspoken advocate of Voter ID reform, claiming that previous elections were rigged by Democrats who brought residents of other counties over to vote against him). So that’s one person casting three votes.
Again, didn’t we just pass a law so stuff like this doesn’t happen in our great state?
And for those Republicans out there going “So what’s wrong with that?” (and trust us, they’re out there), might I refer you to Assesembly Rule 76.(5) which states that “Only the members present in the assembly chamber may vote.” So we’ve got a State Representative in clear violation of a law that is eerily similar to one he just voted for. (Or at least we think he voted for it. Could be he was absent and one of his Republican cronies voted for him.)
Now, if the story stopped there, it would be one thing. The situation is embarrassing, and it did lead to Kleefisch being voted as the “Worst Person in the World” by the <sarcasm>completely objective Keith Olbermann</sarcasm> (start it at the 3:30 mark to go right to Kleefisch, the other two segments aren’t that great). But naturally, the story doesn’t end there.
WTMJ in Milwaukee was able to catch up to Rep. Kleefisch and ask him about the incident. For reasons unbeknownst to us, Kleefisch actually agreed to do the interview. When he was asked if he felt he broke the law (after being informed about the law in question), Kleefisch said, “Uh, well, it depends on how you interpret the rule.” Here’s the video and corresponding article from the great folks at WTMJ.
Once again, the rule is “Only the members present in the assembly chamber may vote.” Now, we’re not claiming to be rocket scientists here, but if Rep. Kleefisch needs help interpreting this rule, we feel as though he probably shouldn’t be a member of our state’s government, much less a voting member of it.
How much more clearer could the Constitution be? If you’re not there, you don’t vote. Done. Simple as that. Two people weren’t there. They don’t get to vote. That’s it. They don’t get to phone a friend and pass their votes along, they don’t get their pages to vote for them – if your Representative isn’t doing his job by attending a session of Congress, then s/he doesn’t get to cast a vote.
Kleefisch then gives a laundry list of excuses, each one more laughable then the next. We’ll go through them in order.
“The bathroom counts as the chamber. And the parlor counts as a chamber if you are going to eat.”
Look, we hardly think that the founding fathers of the great state of Wisconsin included breaks to the pisser or the cafeteria in the State Constitution. We’re guessing that by the chamber, they mean the chamber in which the votes are cast, and not the adjacent can/canteen. But this argument is laughable. You’re telling me someone couldn’t hold it for five minutes, or they were going to go into diabetic shock if they didn’t hit the local burger joint? We would be willing to bet our entire operating budget (a handful of change a Republican once threw at our writer for trying to logically debate politics) that the two Representatives Kleefisch voted for were nowhere near the chamber (or even the capitol for that matter).
“It happens all the time.”
So does murder – but it doesn’t make it right. Check out this video from Texas that shows (in just one session) how often voter fraud occurs. And while the video does show one Democrat breaking the law, we would argue that this is more of a Republican problem, and not as widespread across party lines as Reps. Kleefisch and Fields want you to think. Regardless, the “but everyone else is doing it” argument is just as childish as it sounds.
“It is another attempt at character assassination.”
We’re not sure exactly how showing your constituents your voting practices counts as character assassination. Somehow we would classify this as truthful reporting, and not the negatively-connotatied character assassination claim made by Kleefisch. But Kleefisch’s claim that this is really about his wife and Gov. Walker is sickening. No, Joel, this is about you and your fraudulent voting practices. Although now that you mention it, Walker does play a part in this discussion…
See, Gov. Walker was once a State Representative, and actually argued in favor of changing the rule to say that you had to be in your seat and in the chamber to vote. The interesting thing about this (that almost everyone seems to be missing) is that the law doesn’t need to be changed. It says everything it needs to – that you need to be in your seat to vote. The problem isn’t with the law – it’s with the enforcement. Someone needs to come up with a way so that only people who are actually present can vote.
Now we know what you’re thinking – that enforcement is expensive and isn’t effective. But we’ve got a solution that we can’t see anything wrong with: Biometric scanners. The technology is developed enough that it’s cheap, effective, and we don’t see how it wouldn’t work. Simply put a biometric scanner next to the voting button. The Rep. scans his/her finger, activating the button for 15 seconds. The Rep. votes. No finger scan? The button doesn’t work. No vote.
We honestly can’t believe no one hasn’t thought to do this yet. If anyone can think of a reason not to do it, please comment below – we’d love to hear from you. But if Gov. Walker is really serious about fixing this problem like he said he was in ’96, the problem isn’t with the law and the way it’s written – it’s an enforcement issue. And we’ve got the solution. Why not give it a shot?