|David Prosser showing|
off his famous choke hold.
Now, David "Chokehold" Prosser has gotten one as well.
But Prosser has a number of issues with his that Walker never had to deal with.
While the Government Accountability Board (GAB) apparently approved of Prosser using his campaign fund as a legal defense fund, they are on shaky ground as to their rationale. The GAB claim that Prosser could proceed with this because the Judicial Commission's inquiry into his physical assault on fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley "meets the definition of a political purpose because the proceeding affects his reputation and electability."
The article goes on to show two leading authorities questioning this rationale:
But George Dunst, who formerly served as the top attorney for the accountability board, disputed that interpretation.Indeed, if one looks at the actual law regarding the establishment of legal defense funds, Wisconsin State Statute Chapter 11.64 you'll see that physical assault of a coworker on company time is not covered:
"That's pretty tortured, I would think," he said. "That's a stretch to say this has to do with a political purpose. By that stretch, almost anything does. If he's accused of murder, he could use it (under that view)."
Michael Maistelman, a campaign finance attorney who often represents Democrats, had a similar take.
"If the GAB is going to take that expansive view, then every elected official could use campaign funds to hire a divorce attorney or an attorney for a speeding ticket," he said. All they would have to do is argue that the issue attorneys are helping them with affects their political reputation, he said.
The only time a politician could establish a legal defense fund, per the law, is if said politician was being investigated or charged under Chapter 11 or Chapter 12. Chapter 11 deals with campaign financing and Chapter 12 covers prohibited election practices. Like I said, physical assault and battery belong to neither of those chapters. Nor are they investigating Prosser under either of those categories.11.64 Defense fund authorized.
(1) Any candidate or public official who is being investigated for, charged with or convicted of a criminal violation of this chapter or ch. 12, or whose agent is so investigated, charged or convicted, may establish a defense fund for expenditures supporting or defending the candidate or agent, or any dependent of the candidate or agent, while that person is being investigated for, or while the person is charged with or convicted of a criminal violation of this chapter or ch. 12.(2) No person may utilize a contribution received from a contributor to a campaign fund for a purpose for which a defense fund is authorized under sub. (1) unless the authorization of the contributor is obtained. Notwithstanding s. 11.25 (2) (a), any contributor may authorize the transfer of all or part of a contribution from a campaign fund to a defense fund.
History: 1973 c. 334; 1975 c. 93; 1987 a. 370.
UPDATE: I have learned, from Attorney Michael Maistelman, who has informed me that anyone could file a verified complaint with the District Attorney. I would expect that he will receive any number of them before long.
But for the sake of discussion, let's accept that Prosser can have a legal defense fund, despite the fact that the law clearly says he can't. Even with this stipulation, Prosser still has two major problems to contend with.
One is that he has no money:
The defense fund could give Prosser a way to pay his legal bills without having to bear them personally. But his campaign account has just $1,145 in it and is already laden with a debt of about $229,000 from a recount last year.As a side note, the article mentions that the $229,000 is owed to the Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren law firm, which just happens to be Walker's old favorite law firm, before he became infatuated with Michael Best & Friedrich.
The other issue that Prosser has is that he cannot just 'christen' his campaign fund as his legal defense fund.
Attorney Michael Maistelman confirmed that Prosser would have to get the expressed permission from each donor to divert any campaign donations to his legal defense fund.
Something tells me Prosser never did that.
Besides the legal defense fund, Prosser is imitating Walker in another way. Just as with all things Walker, there's more.
The article goes on to show Prosser's paranoia, his disconnect from reality, and even shows that the matter is not really suitable for a legal defense fund (emphasis mine):
Prosser said he believed the Judicial Commission was trying to punish him by driving up his legal bills. He said members of the commission likely believed the case could never be heard by the Supreme Court because the other justices witnessed the incident at issue.So which is it? Is Prosser defending a political act or is he claiming that it was an act in his official capacity? It can't be both? The taxpayers aren't paying him to be a professional politician.
"I think the purpose of the Judicial Commission (complaint), quite deliberately, with knowledge and forethought, was to incur as much personal cost to Dave Prosser as possible," he said.
Prosser has asked all the other justices to recuse themselves from the case. Justice Patience Roggensack has stepped aside in the case and Justice N. Patrick Crooks has said he will stay on; the other justices have not indicated what they will do.
Prosser also raised the possibility that he could eventually have state taxpayers pick up his legal bills.
"I'm a state employee," he said. "When people proceed against me in my official capacity and they fail, I don't see why I'm any different than any other state employee."
Then again, we're not paying Walker to be one either, but that is what he is doing.
In summary, we have Prosser trying to illegally use a legal defense fund which is as devoid of cash as Prosser is devoid of morals and threatening to stick the taxpayers for the bill for his boorish and inexcusable behavior.
Hey, he is really starting to sound more and more like Scott Walker, isn't he? And just like Walker, charm schools and PR firms will have very little effect in making them look presentable. Which makes this shot from an old anti-Prosser ad all the more appropriate: