Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Who - And What - Is Behind AB 85

On Sunday, Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, broke the story of who was actually behind AB 85 - the bill that would allow Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele to usurp all the power in Milwaukee County.

Not surprisingly, and as I've been saying all along, it wasn't Representative Joe Sanfelippo behind the bill, despite his claims to have penned it.  As someone
familiar with Sanfelippo pointed out, he doesn't have the ability to write an I.O.U. without screwing it up.

No, Sanfelippo is merely a sockpuppet for the Greater Milwaukee Committee, whose lobbyists and lawyers were the driving force behind the bill:
Newly released drafting documents from the Legislative Reference Bureau document the efforts of two lobbyists for GMC's political arm, Smart Government Inc.

"Please review this draft carefully to ensure that it meets your intent," wrote Marc E. Shovers, managing editor for the reference bureau. "As I discussed with Josh (Hoisington)and Ray Carey, I did not incorporate into this draft (of the bill) some of the requirements for a county executive that apply to Cuyahoga County because they seem to have no legal effect."

What's important here is not that someone wants the bill to be modeled after some Ohio county government.

Instead, the legislative staffer is consulting on the measure with Ray Carey, a lobbyist for the silk-stocking firm Foley & Lardner who has been retained by Smart Government. Hoisington is Sanfelippo's legislative aide.

Carey's cell is listed on another page of drafting notes.

Finally, the file documents a March 6 meeting in the office of Sen. Alberta Darling (River Hills), the lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate. The page includes notes on a line-by-line draft of the legislation.

Attending the private meeting was a second GMC lobbyist, former Senate Majority Leader Mary Panzer, according to the record. She was joined in the meeting by Sanfelippo and several legislative aides. Darling attended by phone.

No representative for the County Board is listed as attending the meeting.
Gee, Abele, Sanfelippo and GMC all caught lying. Who'd a thunk that? Outside of anyone that's been paying attention, that is.

Cory Liebmann took this and fleshed it out in a post showing that the fact that GMC is behind this is nothing new nor surprising:
This isn't the first time that some of these same interests tried to do an end-run around local control and local government to get what they want. Remember in 2006 when some of the same special interests paid for secret draft legislation to swipe control of Milwaukee County's successful airport? During that effort they wanted to make Mitchell a regionally controlled airport rather than a Milwaukee County asset. Even worse they wanted to specifically and totally bypass Milwaukee County officials and even local voters. In 2006 they even used the same law/lobby firm to do the job that GMC is using now. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/18/06]

In 2006 while many of the same special interests were busy drafting the legislation they found the perfect guy that would introduce it in the state legislature. In 2006 that role was played by Rep. Jeff Stone (R-Greendale) but today it is being played by Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-West Allis).

The fact that GMC's paid lobbyists were so deeply involved in writing this current bill tells us everything that we really needed to know about it. But perhaps we can actually learn more based on who WAS NOT involved in the drafting of this special interest legislation. As they furiously spin in the media and through their highly paid spokespeople they pretend that the beneficiary of this legislation is the public. But they didn't involve the public in writing this legislation. They didn't include key members of the community or other direct stake holders. In keeping with the pattern they had their well paid lobbyists helping write it behind closed doors.

If you had any doubt about what this legislation is really all about it should be totally cleared at this point. It was written by these special interests and for these special interests. Right now they are simply trying to force the rest of us to come along for the ride. Their highly paid PR firm and their phony front group will continue to spin that they really did it all for us. But the point remains, when it was time to actually draw up this legislation WE were not invited into the room.
So, so far we know have positive confirmation that this is a corporate/plutocrat bill that has nothing to do with the will of the people. We already knew that, but confirmation from an independent source is always nice.

But as with all things Abele, there is more. There is always more.

Note the lobbyist from Foley and Lardner who was so heavily involved with this bill - Ray Carey.

He's not just a lobbyist from a silk stocking law firm.

He was also a key player in the caucus scandal from ten years ago:
Among the four witnesses Tuesday were two former directors of the now-defunct Assembly Republican Caucus, which the Wisconsin State Journal revealed in May 2001 was operating along with the other three legislative caucuses as a secret campaign machine.

The two - Kratochwill and Ray Carey - told Moeser that much of their work revolved around campaign tasks such as recruiting candidates, monitoring and deploying state employees to work on campaigns and keeping leaders, including Jensen and Foti, apprised of how Republican Assembly candidates were faring in their races. And both testified they never saw Schultz, who was housed along with them at the Assembly Republican Caucus, do any legitimate government work.

"I did not observe her (Schultz) nor was I aware of her doing state business," Carey said. Kratochwill agreed, saying he never assigned Schultz any non-campaign-related work in part because, "she didn't do any legislative work."

Schultz's attorney, Stephen Morgan, asked Carey whether he believed during his tenure as caucus director from 1994 to 1999 that he was violating the law by having state employees work on private campaigns on state time. Carey, who is an attorney, replied, "I don't recall thinking about it."


Carey and Kratochwill each testified that Foti and Jensen regularly attended meetings, primarily in Jensen's Capitol office, in which the campaign activity of state employees was discussed. At no time did Jensen or Foti instruct either one to separate his state job from campaigning, they said. And both testified that their jobs as directors included running the private Republican Assembly Campaign Committee out of the taxpayer-funded Assembly Republican Caucus.
What is is with these conservatives and scandals? It seems like you can't have one without the other anymore.

But do even a little more digging and the real horror becomes bare.

Just take a gander at Carey's bio at the Foley & Lardner's website:
Raymond J. Carey is a highly respected and skilled advisor, trial lawyer, negotiator, and partner in the Labor and Employment Practice of Foley & Lardner LLP. He has over 30 years of experience wisely counseling employer representatives within all industries concerning the diversity of human resource and labor relations issues that affect the workplace. During his more than 30 years of practice, Mr. Carey has successfully defended employers and their management representatives against myriad individual plaintiff, multi-plaintiff and class action claims involving virtually all types of federal and state statutory and common law employment-related causes of action, including EEO, ERISA, FLSA, FMLA, USERRA, WARN, Section 301(a), whistle blowing, breach of non- compete agreements, breach of employment contracts, interference, breach of sales commission contracts and policies, and other federal and state statutory and common law causes of action.

Mr. Carey counsels employers concerning development and implementation of effective policies, practices and procedure pertaining to litigation avoidance, hiring, compensation, benefits, wage and hour compliance, FMLA and other leaves of absence, workplace accommodations, workplace investigations, promotion, discipline, layoff, reduction in force, workforce reorganization, discharge, equal employment opportunity, affirmative action, workplace diversity, and zero tolerance for workplace violence, discrimination, and harassment of any kind. He also advises employers with respect to labor/management relations issues, including effective union avoidance strategies, how to expeditiously defeat or avoid union facility specific and corporate-wide organizing campaigns, collective bargaining, grievance resolution, and other management/labor disputes, and he negotiates collective bargaining agreements on behalf of employers.

In addition to myriad pre-trial summary judgments and dismissals with prejudice among other pre-trial resolutions Mr. Carey has obtained for employers and their representatives consistent with their desired outcomes, he has successfully tried more than 100 cases in federal and state trial courts, before arbitrators, and in proceedings before federal and state administrative agencies, including the NLRB, DOL, OSHA/ MIOSHA, the EEOC, and the MDCR, among other federal and state administrative agencies. Mr. Carey also developed and implemented successful strategies that thwarted attempts by plaintiffs to certify class actions in over 20 employment cases throughout his career.
They also note that Carey writes articles and gives speeches regarding labor-related topics, including these beauties:

  • Defense of FLSA Collective And Other Actions
  • Defending Federal And State Wage And Hour Class And Collective Actions
  • How To Effectively Defend Against Employment Related Class Actions
  • How To Minimize Prospects For Employment Related Litigation
  • How To Avoid Claims for Discrimination And Harassment Based On Protected Characteristics
  • How To Defend Against Employment Discrimination And Other Employment Related Claims
and my personal favorite
  • How To Remain Union Free
Remember, AB 85 would give Abele sole control over any labor contracts.  And we already have seen that Abele is not labor friendly as evidenced by his support of his wealthy friends at Palermos over the workers who simply want a voice.  And don't even get me started on the multitude of ways he's been trying to mess with his own employees.

It also reminds me of how Julia Taylor, Grand Poobah of the GMC plutocrats, complained that the County Board didn't allow Abele to gouge Milwaukee County employees as much as he wanted to.

Chris Abele
We already know that Abele and the other plutocrats want to eliminate any and all the authority the County Board has so that they can no longer thwart his ambitions to privatize and sell off as much as the county as he can.  

But why he is he going after the unions too?

Labor leader Thomas Donahue gave us that answer long ago:
"The only effective answer to organized greed is organized labor."
So, tell us again how this is for the good of the people and all about efficiency, because it sure looks like a plutocratic power grab from here.

1 comment:

  1. They're really quite the exclusive boys + girls club aren't they? And because the J-S is part of that club, their news reporters don't really try too hard to tell us what happens inside that club.

    But they sure like to club the rest of us, don't they? As Muse might say "It's time the fat cats had a heart attack," and labor is definitely one if the groups to cause it