Talk about a blockbuster rejection for a candidate by the home town paper:
The Appleton-Post Crescent rejects sitting Supreme Court Justice David Prosser and endorses challenger JoAnne Kloppenberg, citing Prosser's admission that as a State Assembly leader prior to his appointment to the Court he condoned what Scott Jensen, a former Assembly leader, Scott Jensen was convicted of doing - - misusing his office and state resources for partisan political purpose
Here are the relevant paragraphs from the paper's Sunday endorsement editorial:
In 2006, Prosser said that while he was a legislative leader, staffers who worked under his direction did campaign work. He also acknowledged that in his interview with The P-C on March 18.
Here's a member of the highest court in Wisconsin, whose judges are expected to possess unimpeachable integrity, admitting he condoned illegal activity as an elected official.
In a brief filed by the attorney of former state Rep. Scott Jensen, a Prosser protege who was charged with three felony counts of misconduct in office (in a December 2010 plea deal, Jensen pleaded no-contest to a misdemeanor charge), Prosser said he basically did the same thing that caused Jensen to be charged.
In the brief, after outlining how his leadership role involved getting more Republicans elected to the Assembly, Prosser said:
"During my term as a legislator and as a speaker, there were caucus members and caucus directors who participated in activities including but not limited to the following: Campaign and political meetings in the Capitol office; assisting the speaker and the elected leadership by recruiting candidates; gathering voting lists and target lists; setting up, attending and staffing fundraisers; and assisting legislators in creating and implementing office plans."
Prosser's statement was presented in Jensen's defense. He's saying, as others said, that's the way business is done in Madison. That's what Jensen's job was about, too.
It's illegal. It was illegal when Prosser was in charge and it was illegal when Jensen was in charge.
In his statement, Prosser saw it differently. He said, "Every activity that could be characterized as a campaign activity can be conceivably construed to be an act that furthers the legislative process."
So, campaigns and legislative work are so intertwined that it's all part of the same process.
As a taxpayer, what do you think? Should your tax dollars, which were used to fund the caucuses until they were disbanded in the wake of a scandal, have gone toward campaigning?
Only someone who works — or worked — in the Capitol would think taxpayers would go for that.
Again, it was against the law. You'd think Prosser would acknowledge that, even if he didn't agree. But he told The P-C that "it was a different era and public expectations were quite different."
Prosser said that the law "had never been interpreted that way."
So, what do we do? Let bygones be bygones?
We can't. The Post-Crescent endorses JoAnne Kloppenburg.