State Rep. Robin Vos said he wants to “recall the recalls.”
The Rochester Republican and chairman of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee said Wednesday he is drafting an amendment to the state constitution to require those pushing to recall state officials to state their reasons for doing so.
“No longer should taxpayer dollars be wasted on unnecessary recall elections that were triggered by a vote that some special interest group didn’t like.” Vos said in a statement. “It undermines our democracy and wastes precious taxpayer dollars that are needed elsewhere.”
His comments came a day after Democrats won two seats in the state Senate, one shy of what they would have needed to take control of the chamber. Four other Republicans held onto their seats in a set of recall elections for state lawmakers unparalleled in the country’s history.
Vos said his proposed constitutional amendment would require those trying to recall a state official to state a reason they are doing so when they file paperwork with the state. Such a statement is already required for recalling local officials.
Vos said he wants the proposal to be the first piece of legislation passed this fall. If passed, it would need to be approved again by the Legislature in 2013 or 2014 and then by voters in a referendum.
By: Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 10, 2011
The history of the American labor movement is crowded with losing battles and crushing disappointments. The men and women who have fought for workers’ rights, often against tremendously long odds, have all too often suffered defeat and humiliation, only finding consolation in the idea that their efforts perhaps succeed in awakening a bit of public sympathy for their plight, inching their larger cause forward in unseen ways.
Yesterday unions and Democrats fell just short of victory in Wisconsin, winning two of six races to recall GOP state senators, in a battle that had unexpectedly emerged as ground zero in a national class war, partly over the fate of organized labor. There’s no way to sugar-coat it: Unions and Dems failed in their objective as they defined it, which was to take back the state senate, put the brakes on Scott Walker’s agenda, and let the nation know that elected officials daring to roll back public employee bargaining rights would face dire electoral consequences.
But nonetheless, what they failed to accomplish does not diminish what they did successfully accomplish. The fact that all these recall elections happened at all was itself a genuine achievement. The sudden explosion of demonstrations in opposition to Walker’s proposals, followed by activists pulling off the collection of many thousands of recall signatures in record time, represented an undiluted organizing triumph. At a time of nonstop media doting over the Tea Party, it was a reminder that spontaneous grassroots eruptions of sympathy and support for a targeted constituency are still possible and can still be channeled effectively into a genuine populist movement on the left. At a time when organized labor is struggling badly and GOP governors earn national media adulation by talking “tough” about cracking down on greedy public employees, what happened in Wisconsin, as John Nichols put it, amounted to “one of the largest pro-labor demonstrations in American history,” one that carried echoes of the “era of Populist and Progressive reform in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.”
What’s more, no matter how many times conservatives falsely assert that labor and Dems subverted the popular will by fighting Walker’s proposals, in reality precisely the opposite happened.
By staging a fight that drew national attention, labor and Wisconisn Dems revealed an unexpected level of national sympathy for public employees, and, yes, for unions and their basic right to exist. This alone was an important achievement, flummoxing pundits who had confidently predicted that public employeees would make easy public scapegoats for the national conservative movement in dire economic times.
Even if Dems fell short of their objective in Wisconsin, what happened was, in fact, a referendum on Walkerism — one that conservatives lost in the mind of the broader public. Nate Silver Tweeted last night: “Dems would be silly to not proceed with the Walker recall based on tonight. The results project to a toss-up if you extrapolate out statewide.” I don’t think Dems will go through with it, but Silver’s larger point is intact: Walkerism triggered a strong public backlash that can’t be dismissed and will remain a factor. As Markos Moulitsas noted, the Wisconsin battle enabled Dems to hone a class-based message about GOP overreach that is showing some success in winning back white working class voters, with potential ramifications for 2012. The national outpouring of financial support for the Dem recall candidates showed that there’s a national liberal/Dem constituency that can be activated by Dems who don’t flinch from taking the fight to opponents with unabashedly bare-knuckled populism.
Will the national support for public employees in polls slow the drive of conservatives and GOP governors to roll back bargaining rights nationally? Probably not. Conservatives will point to yesterday’s events, with some justification, as proof that governors might not suffer direct electoral consequences in response to radical union-busting policies. But what Wisconsin showed us is that the broader public simply isn’t on their side. Let’s hope national Dems take heart.
The events in Wisconsin were a blow to organized labor. But the simple fact is that labor and Dems came within a hair of realizing an objective that was dismissed at the outset of this fight as a delusional lefty pipe dream. Wisconsin won’t chasten the left; Wisconsin will embolden it. And those who poured untold amounts of time and energy into the Wisconsin effort shouldn’t regret their efforts for a second.
By: Greg Sargent, The Plum Line-The Washington Post, August 10, 2011
Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), a Tea-Party darling who has made a name for himself on the talk show circuit lecturing Democrats to get the nation’s finances in order, has been under fire in recent weeks over charges that he’s a deadbeat dad, owing more than $100,000 in child support.
Last Thursday, Walsh told constituents at a townhall that he plans to “privately and legally” fight his ex-wife’s claims that he owes more than $100,000 in child support, which he called “wildly inaccurate.” A recent Chicago Sun-Times article reported that his ex-wife is suing him for $117,000 in unpaid support.
Yet, even if Walsh owes just $10,000 in unpaid child support, he could face the added headache of House Ethics Committee scrutiny. Walsh, who was elected in 2010 in a narrow victory over former Rep. Melissa Bean (D-IL) in the Tea Party-induced wave, does not list any child support debt on his financial disclosure form, as required for any liability worth more than $10,000.
“Rep. Walsh is required both by law and by congressional ethics rules to list debts in excess of $10,000 on his financial disclosure forms, including child support back payments,” said Public Citizen’s Craig Holman.
“Technically, he could be taken to task by the Ethics Committee or even the Justice Department for failure to file proper disclosure forms, but in all likelihood the Ethics Committee and Justice would be satisfied if Walsh were to file amended forms,” Holman explained.
But Walsh is in a bit of a bind. Filing an amended form would require him to admit to owing at least $10,000 in back child support, what would amount to an ugly political liability that could knock him out of his role as one of the top spokesmen for the Tea Party GOP freshmen class.
Some talking heads are already taking action. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell last week said he had banned Walsh from his show until the Republican pays the child support he owes his wife and children. He also played a video of Walsh saying, “I won’t place one more dollar of debt on the backs of my kids” before noting that Walsh allegedly owes those kids $117,347 in child support, the Huffington Post reported.
Walsh’s ex-wife, Laura Walsh, says he failed to provide full child support for roughly five years from 2005 to 2010, from 2008 to 2010, the time of his election, she said he paid no support. After he was elected to Congress, which pays a salary of $174,000 a year, Walsh resumed full payments for their three children.
Laura Walsh’s suit also accuses Walsh and a girlfriend of taking international vacations while Walsh said he was too poor to pay child support.
Laura Walsh filed for divorce in December 2002 after 15 years of marriage. According to her suit, Walsh was $1,000 a month short of his commitment for 28 months during November 2005 to March 2008. Walsh allegedly paid nothing from 2008 until resuming in late 2010. She has asked the court to garnish his wages.
Susan Crabtree, Talking Points Memo, August 9, 2011