|Scott Walker's new campaign wagon|
Well, unlike the right wing, I am willing to admit I was wrong. Boy, was I ever wrong on that.
Today, THE story of Walker's legacy was revealed.
This story is so full of corruption, cronyism and crap that one would find it extremely difficult to find one that would serve better.
It all starts with a septic company called Herr Environmental, Inc. Herr Environmental was pumping out people's septic tanks and dumping the contents on farmer fields at three times the legal limits. The dumping sites were next to residential areas and could possibly affect 40 different wells for drinking water.
The story reports that this is of a concern because the raw sewage contains nitrates that could infiltrate the drinking water and cause all sorts of health problems. The story doesn't even go into the threat of E. coli.
To make matters worse, they tried to cook the books and had three different sets of records and over 60 inaccurate records of when, where and how much they spread.
The inspectors tagged this case for referral to the Department of Justice for prosecution. They did so because of the egregious violations, which deserved greater fines, plus the court could order the company to pay for water testing.
But then the Walker Machine of Mismanagement kicked in.
Thanks to Walker changing nearly 40 civil service jobs to political appointees, we find that the DNR is lousy with them. The inept Kathy Stepp was named to be Secretary, even though she doesn't even know the difference between an adult deer and a yearling. Her executive assistant, former Representative Scott Gunderson, is also a political appointee. Add to this yet another political appointee, Matt Moroney, former executive director of the Metropolitan Builders of Greater Milwaukee
All of these political cronies of Walker's conspired to obstruct justice and interfere with law enforcement by refusing to make the referral to the DOJ. Instead, they sent it to the district attorneys in Jefferson and Waukesha Counties, knowing that the penalties would be just a wee fraction of what they should be facing.
And even that was too much for Representative Joel "Get in mah bellay" Kleefisch, husband of soon to be former Lt. Governor Becky "Minivan" Kleefisch. He tried to intervene in the carriage of justice as well.
Well, as you might surmise, Herr Herr has been a generous campaign donor to not only Gunderson, but also to Walker and Minivan Kleefisch.
So, in summary, you have a company that illegally dumped at least three times the legal amount of human waste in fields near people's drinking water, and then trying to lie about it. Instead of having to answer for their actions, and be held responsible for their crimes, Walker has his political appointees, paying the company back for their generous campaign contributions, try to sweep it all under the rug and have the company face no more than a slap on the wrist.
And Walker just praised the DNR for the way they've been handling things. Also, so much for the "self-regulation" concept.
So far, to the best of my knowledge, only one of the candidates to be the Democratic nominee in the recall election has responded to this outrage. As you might imagine, it is the much-lauded former public intervenor, Kathleen Falk with this scathing release:
Kathleen Falk, Democratic candidate for governor and former Dane County Executive, said today’s news that a top political appointee of Gov. Scott Walker at the Department of Natural Resources personally intervened to prevent law enforcement from investigating a complaint against a Walker administration donors shows “a dangerous culture of cronyism and favoritism.” Falk repeated her call for the immediate removal of DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp and said as governor she would conduct a top to bottom review of the agency to remove any political interference in the state’s environmental protection agency.
During her 14 years as Dane County Executive, her county had many of the state’s strongest and most effective environmental protections, while also having a state’s highest job growth during her tenure – nearly 30,000 more jobs.
“The safety of the public is at risk from the political cronyism of the Walker administration,” said Falk, who served as the state’s former environmental watchdog for 12 years.“ As governor, I will end Scott Walker’s attack on our clean air and water. My record shows you can have strong environmental protections to protect the public and create jobs, and that’s the experience I’ll bring as governor.”
A front-page story in today’s Wisconsin State Journal by veteran environmental reporter Ron Seely showed that Walker’s DNR Executive Assistant Scott Gunderson refused to involve the Wisconsin Department of Justice in an enforcement action against a company accused of practices which could have contaminated water wells with human waste. The company, which donated thousands of dollars to Walker’s second-in-command Rebecca Kleefisch, was able to avoid “tens of thousands of dollars” in potential fines because of Gunderson’s action.
“The actions of Gov. Walker’s political cronies present a clear and present danger to the clean air and water of the people of Wisconsin,” said Falk. “As governor, I will restore an independent DNR so that public safety, and not partisan politics, are front and center.”This also shows why we need a governor like Falk. She is the only one with the experience to fix such debacles and hazards to our health. Plus she is the only one with a record of successfully creating jobs.
I would not be surprised if we soon find out that Walker changes his campaign wagon to a honey wagon.