Friday, August 04, 2006

Sensenbrenner's heavy hand in Assembly race

This from a Waukesha County Republican observer, about the Republican primary for the State Assembly seat formerly held by Scott Jensen, who resigned after being convicted of three felonies for misusing his office and abusing the public trust. In the interest of stirring the GOP primary pot, here you go:

Q: How has Rich Zipperer, an individual with virtually zero ties to either Waukesha County or Wisconsin Republican politics, been able to nab so many choice endorsements, including Wisconsin Right to Life, Brookfield Mayor Jeff Speaker, Lt. Gov. Farrow, and Rep. Vukmir?

A: F. James Sensenbrenner has let it be known that electing Mr. Zipperer is his newest “project”, and anyone who gets in his way will be “off the Christmas card list. (his words)”

The fear of Sensenbrenner has caused usually courageous Republican politicians to toe the line. Local attorney Mike Maxwell was counting on endorsements and support from State Sen. Ted Kanavas, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, and Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas. Kanavas is the godfather to Maxwell’s son. Maxwell’s wife worked on Vrakas’ county executive campaign. Maxwell hosted a fundraiser (the “pheasant hunt” that took place soon after the Cheney shooting) for Walker that raised a reported $10,000. All three have declined to help Maxwell.

Politics is all about who you know, so I do not slight Mr. Zipperer for having Congressman Sensenbrenner as his guardian angel. However, as the frontrunner, Mr. Zipperer should expect additional scrutiny, for example:

1. When exactly did Mr. Zipperer move into the Assembly district, and did he do so with the intention of running because he thought Scott Jensen was going to be convicted?

2. Mr. Zipperer hit the ground running immediately after Jensen announced his resignation. Did Mr. Zipperer use government resources in the Sensenbrenner office (email, fax, computers, copier, etc.) to run for Assembly?

3. Mr. Zipperer has stated that he has taken a leave of absence to run for office. Is he 100% off payroll, or using comp or vacation? More importantly, are he and his family still covered by the Sensenbrenner office health insurance like Kathy Falk’s staffer was before stopping due to scrutiny?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Still number one

It really isn't news any more, since F. Jim Sensenbrenner regularly comes out on top of the list of Congress members who travel for free.

But here's the latest report:
Sensenbrenner tops list of privately funded travel

WASHINGTON - Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner has taken around $200,000 worth of privately funded travel over the past 6 1/2 years, more than any other lawmaker, according to a new report.

Political Money Line, which tracks money in politics, released the report, which covers the period from 2000 through June 30 of this year.

Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., topped the list last year as well.

F. Jim to constituent: Bother someone else, not me

"Don't bother me -- go bother your state legislator with these problems."
That's the response Rep. F. Jim Sensenbrenner gave to a leader of a citizens group at a Sensenbrenner town hall meeting -- an answer those activists aren't likely to forget.

Jeff Gonyo of Highway J Citizens Group reports in an email, from which this is excerpted:
During the Town Hall Meeting, I asked Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner why he has not stepped in to stop wasteful, federally-funded road and bridge projects in his 5th Congressional District (like the Highway 164 four-lane expansion project in Waukesha and Washington Counties) and why he has not helped the residents of Ackerville obtain a complete clean-up of the groundwater contamination problems in this area (which have greatly worsened since a federally-funded bridge project was built there three years ago).

Just like he has done so many times these past seven years, Congressman Sensenbrenner again "passed the buck" and refused to get involved in what he viewed as "state and local issues." His exact response was: "Don't bother me -- go bother your state legislator with these problems."

Congressman Sensenbrenner gave this response even though I had pointed out to him that the Highway 164 four-lane expansion project is a federally-funded and federally-designed project that is now the subject of "a federal lawsuit filed in federal court against four defendants (three of which are federal agencies -- the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) now being heard by federal judges citing the violation of numerous federal laws (including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Federal Aid to Highways Act, the Clean Water Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, the Endangered Species Act and others).

Furthermore, the Ackerville groundwater contamination problems are under the jurisdiction of at least two federal agencies -- the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). With these very strong federal connections in our case, I am absolutely shocked that a federal legislator like Congressman Sensenbrenner would continue to tell his constituents that "these are state and local issues."
Want to know more? Contact Jeff Gonyo, Highway J Citizens Group, P.O. Box 152, Hubertus, WI 53033. Phone: (262)-644-8334. E-Mail:


Monday, July 31, 2006

Sensenbrenner disses citizens group

An attempt by a 5th Congressional District citizens group to enlist their Congressman against a project in his district fell on deaf ears. You can guess who the Congressman was. From the Daily Reporter:

On Sunday night, the [Highway J Citizens Group] unsuccessfully tried to convince U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner to back its cause at the congressman’s Richfield Town Hall meeting.

“I have approached Congressman Sensenbrenner many times over the last seven years in regards to these problems, and all he ever says is that it’s not a federal issue and I should bug my state legislators,” said Gonyo. “He wants to pass the buck.”

Gonyo said 80 percent of the funds used for both the highway expansion and bridge project are federal and that the Federal Highway Administration signed off on them.

“We are suing in federal court over federal laws to stop a federal project, and yet (Sensenbrenner) is saying it’s a state and local issue,” Gonyo said.

Sensenbrenner could not be reached for comment.

The group has several local politicians in its corner, including Sensenbrenner’s opponent in this year’s election, Bryan Kennedy. State Rep. Don Pridemore, R-Hartford, Washington County Supervisor David Radermacher and state Assembly candidate Bob Collison were all present at a rally held prior to the town hall meeting. Citizens for Responsible Government is also supporting the group’s efforts.

In January, Pridemore and state Sen. Ted Kanavas, R-Brookfield, asked WisDOT not to enter any further contracts on the project until the lawsuit was settled.