Monday, September 26, 2011

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same....Again

It baffles me why politicians have the biggest problem learning from their own mistakes--or the mistakes of others.  I ask this after news broke on Friday that three members of Governor Scott Walker's administration are granted immunity in a John Doe investigation into illegal campaign work done by Milwaukee County Employees working under Walker.

If this type of controversy sound familiar, it's because this is not the first time such alleged activity has taken place.  You may recall it was was called the "Capitol Caucus Scandal" the first time around--and some people actually went to jail because of their activities.  Long story short, state employees were directed to do campaign work on taxpayers time--in clear violation of state law.  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala was convicted on two felony counts and served nine months in jail.  State Senator Brian Burke spent six months in jail after he was found guilty of collecting contributions for his Attorney General campaign in his state office.  Both Chvala and Burke were booted from the Senate as well.

Now you would think that anyone working on any campaign anywhere in Wisconsin would look at what happened to Chvala and Burke and think "Holy cow, I don't want to go to jail and be a convicted felon just to win an election!"  But it's possible that was not the thought process employed in Milwaukee County.  Perhaps it was more along the lines of "Well they may have been caught--but we'll be 'smarter' than them."

The next step in the playbook will be the statement from the campaign that these were merely "overly eager workers going rogue on their own with no direction from any campaign officials or their boss" and then a few low-level people falling on their swords to protect those higher up.  As someone who tried to take on this career politician "I can't afford to lose at any cost" type attitude, it just makes me shake my head and say "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

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