A series of FACTS about the MacIver Institute & its employees/associates

Here’s a series of FACTS about the folks working for (or associated with) the John K. MacIver Institute:

FACT #1: Brian Fraley, the Communications Director for the MacIver Institute, is a former national insurance industry lobbyist who was director of the Senate Republican caucus during part of the time of the “Caucus Scandal” in which lawmakers illegally used taxpayer-funded employees to do campaign work. In fact, during the “Caucus Scandal,” Fraley actually retained the services of an attorney, services that he billed taxpayers for (from the 3/14/2002 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel):

Besides Esser, three Senate GOP caucus staffers billed taxpayers for legal fees: former director Brian Fraley, $2,128; John Schulze, $2,720; and Gina Ward, $2,940. Investigators sought documents from Fraley, but attorney invoices for the three provide no other details regarding services rendered.

FACT #2: According to page 9 of the criminal complaint alleging former Scott Walker staffer Kelly Rindfleisch engaged in illegal campaign activities on taxpayer time during the 2010 Lt. Governor race, Rindfleisch was employed by the Senate Republican Caucus (SRC) from March 2000 to December 2001. According to the criminal complaint in Rindfleisch’s pending felony case, on December 16, 2002 Rindfleisch was interviewed by State Department of Justice Agents who were investigating the Caucus Scandal. During that interview with DOJ Agents, Rindfleisch “gave statements regarding her work on political campaigns as directed by Brian Fraley.”

FACT #3: Brett Healy, the President of the MacIver Institute, is the former longtime chief of staff to disgraced former Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen – the same individual who was charged with several felonies for his role in using taxpayer-funded staff for political campaign operations. While it’s unclear what exactly Jensen’s role is with the MacIver Institute, he was found to have authored at least two press releases for the MacIver Institute – see HERE and HERE (right click on the press releases, then click on “document properties”)

FACT #4: In 1997 James Wigderson, a regular contributor to MacIver’s “Perspectives” section, was involved in activities that violated Wisconsin’s election laws, as noted by the Wisconsin State Journal on March 7, 2001 (emphasis added):

In settling a lawsuit filed by the state Elections Board, Wilcox agreed to pay $10,000 for his campaign committee. The lawsuit charged Wilcox’s committee and his campaign manager, Mark Block, with colluding with another group to evade campaign finance laws in his 1997 race for the state’s highest court.

Prompted by an investigation by the Wisconsin State Journal, the board charged the committee and Block with working with the Wisconsin Coalition for Voter Participation and its leaders, Brent Pickens and James Wigderson, to run an illegally funded $200,500 voter turnout effort for Wilcox in his race against Milwaukee lawyer Walt Kelly. The postcard and telephone effort was later linked to school choice advocates, most of them from out of state.

FACT #6: In addition to his “efforts” to help Jon Wilcox win a State Supreme Court race, James Wigderson has served as a paid consultant, a campaign manager, and a volunteer on the campaigns of Republican elected officials dating back to 1992. Additionally, after graduating from UW-Milwaukee in 1991, “Wigderson continued his education in 1992 at a National Republican Campaign Committee campaign management college.”

FACT #7: James Wigderson supports Wisconsin’s Republican-implemented Voter ID law, writing, “So far, so good. The law is working just fine[…]” Notably, Wisconsin’s Voter ID law was recently struck down and ruled unconstitutional, while the ACLU has cited specific examples of Wisconsinites for whom the requirement to provide a suitable voter ID “imposes a severe burden on the right to vote in violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and in violation of the 24th and 14th amendments because it effectively imposes an unconstitutional poll tax on eligible voters.”

FACT #8: The Maciver Institute is staffed by veteran Republican campaign operatives and political insiders, and its board looks like a “Who’s Who” of Republican politics in Wisconsin, including Laurie McCallum, former First Lady of Wisconsin (wife of Republican Gov. Scott McCallum). Among the MacIver Institute’s past board members is Mark Block, a Republican operative best known lately for his blundering work managing GOP candidate Herman Cain’s presidential campaign, but also widely known here in Wisconsin for his involvement in an effort to evade campaign finance laws in the 1997 race for the State Supreme Court (outlined in FACT #4 above), involvement that resulted in Block being fined and barred from working in Wisconsin political campaigns for a period of time.

FACT #9: In 2009 and 2010 the MacIver Institute received $310,000 in funding from the Bradley Foundation, “one of the most powerful philanthropic forces behind America’s conservative movement” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

And now here’s my opinion….

The MacIver Institute has the right to advocate for or against any ideas or policies it chooses, but it is far from being “nonpartisan;” in fact I’d argue it’s as partisan as any “non-profit” organization I’ve come across. One look at the staff and board members of the MacIver Institute should make that abundantly clear to any reasonable person. In my opinion, the MacIver Institute is little more than an extension of the Bradley-funded, Republican-enabled efforts in Wisconsin to enact policies that disproportionately benefit corporations and the wealthy at the expense of lower income and middle class citizens, as opposed to being an honest broker of nonpartisan ideas and policies.

So there you have it folks…..nine facts and one opinion. Libelous? Hardly, but sometimes the truth hurts.

The Plight of Women in 2012 America

Much has been waged on the war on women recently and I wanted to highlight some more of it and try and bring it full circle. The first story, and as a father of a daughter is the hardest to read, comes from comes from the great NY Time Columnist Nicholas Kristof. Kristof writes of one specific aspect of the American sex trade/human trafficing that is such a problem in America. That of companies that enable this to happen specifically backpage.com.

“You can’t buy a child at Wal-Mart, can you?” she asked me. “No, but you can go to Backpage and buy me on Backpage.”

Backpage accounts for about 70 percent of prostitution advertising among five Web sites that carry such ads in the United States, earning more than $22 million annually from prostitution ads, according to AIM Group, a media research and consulting company. It is now the premier Web site for human trafficking in the United States, according to the National Association of Attorneys General. And it’s not a fly-by-night operation. Backpage is owned by Village Voice Media, which also owns the estimable Village Voice newspaper.

Attorneys general from 48 states have written a joint letter to Village Voice Media, pleading with it to get out of the flesh trade. An online petition at Change.org has gathered 94,000 signatures asking Village Voice Media to stop taking prostitution advertising. Instead, the company has used The Village Voice to mock its critics

In 2012 America profits trump people especially when the profits are $22,000,000 and the people are faceless women. Kristoff writes and I agree, that this is a major problem that goes beyond the websites but everything helps in this fight.

There are no simple solutions to end sex trafficking, but it would help to have public pressure on Village Voice Media to stop carrying prostitution advertising. The Film Forum has already announced that it will stop buying ads in The Village Voice. About 100 advertisers have dropped Rush Limbaugh’s radio show because of his demeaning remarks about women. Isn’t it infinitely more insulting to provide a forum for the sale of women and girls?

Let’s be honest: Backpage’s exit from prostitution advertising wouldn’t solve the problem, for smaller Web sites would take on some of the ads. But it would be a setback for pimps to lose a major online marketplace. When Craigslist stopped taking such ads in 2010, many did not migrate to new sites: online prostitution advertising plummeted by more than 50 percent, according to AIM Group.

This is a problem that everyone needs to take seriously and address. In 2012 America we should make being a successful pimp next to impossible. Maybe the NYPD could focus their energy on this the way that they have worked on keeping OWS out of Zucotti park. While this story was based in New York, it is a problem for all of America. More information here. Now we can head down to Texas(again in a problem that effects everyone). Let’s go back to Nickolas Kristof, where he talks about the recent law passed in Texas(and attempted elsewhere).

HERE’S what a woman in Texas now faces if she seeks an abortion.

Under a new law that took effect three weeks ago with the strong backing of Gov. Rick Perry, she first must typically endure an ultrasound probe inserted into her vagina. Then she listens to the audio thumping of the fetal heartbeat and watches the fetus on an ultrasound screen.

She must listen to a doctor explain the body parts and internal organs of the fetus as they’re shown on the monitor. She signs a document saying that she understands all this, and it is placed in her medical files. Finally, she goes home and must wait 24 hours before returning to get the abortion.

The Texas Governor who desperately tried to be president but was deemed to crazy and unintelligent by the republican base is now interfering in the lives of women! Again while all of these stories effect women everywhere, lets bring up our final one that is uniquely Wisconsin.

This latest from West Bend's own Glenn Grothman. The big government unmarried, childless republican senator has actually proposed legislation that would require Wisconsin’s Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board “to emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.”

Grothman thinks that parents(he does not distinguish between mother/father(although its implied) who are divorced, widowed, together but not married, couples where one spouse is serving a long deployment, travels for business, etc… all these people (do you happen to know anyone that fits that description?) are contributing factors to child abuse and neglect. Fortunately, they are losing the messaging race big time. Unfortunately they are well funded.

Well funded enough for the Bradley/Koch machine to send two of their lapdogs out to defend the Senator. The first comes from the discredited law professor Sh & Sh: to tell us how right Glenn Grothman is (here is he telling us of the war on the white male in today's society).

Grothman may well be right.

I’ve done a of reading on this in connection with the marriage issue. There is an awful lot of support for Grothman’s position. Children raised in single parent and step families are more likely to be the victims of abuse and neglect.This is not to say that all – or, thank God, even most – single or step parents will be abusers. It simply reflects the fact that raising children alone or with someone who is not that child’s biological parent (and, therefore, likely to be less invested in that child) is difficult.

Wow where to begin here.

this is not to say that all – or, thank God, even most – single or step parents will be abusers
well then should we continue on with this ridiculousness now that we have confirmed what Grothman (and you) were saying is bullshit?? If you bozo’s ever did any research whatsoever, you would know that Most children are abused by someone they know and trust, although boys are more likely than girls to be abused outside of the family. Will Grothmans next bill be one that doesnt allow kids to be around anyone they know? The Strangers aren’t danger act?

Next they also sent out unmarried, childless far right blogger Kevin Binversie. who first takes it upon himself to defend Grothmans blatantly racist past(maybe there was a bonus for that):

State Sen. Glenn Grothman loves controversy.

In 2003, the West Bend Republican questioned whether Kwanza was a real holiday. In 2009, he speculated that University of Wisconsin-Madison’s diversity-based admissions policies were evidence of the university’s hatred of white men.

Then went to work defending Grothman:

When pressed by the left-leaning Huffington Post, Grothman made the fairly bland observation that, yes, it would be better if women married the men who father their children.

“Society would be better off with two-parent families,” Grothman told Wisconsin Reporter. “My critics are trying to misrepresent the findings behind this bill.”

Those findings are pretty powerful. Single-parent households, it turns out, are increasingly common in some places. Last month, the New York Times cited 2009 government data showing that 59 percent of mothers under 30 when they gave birth were single.

Yes it is quite obvious that kids children raised in a two parent household are much more stable. Unless of course The father is on the road so much no one knows where he is!

Now we know why Don Pridemore said: women in abusive relationships should not seek divorces. If they did it would be the end of the republican party as we know it!

Remind me again how republicans win elections, please!

MacIver Awards

The Koch/Bradley funded right wing MacIver "news" service is running a contest for the “end of session” awards. The thing is, they have announced they will delete any responses posted, you have to email them in. That way they are allowed to censor the ones that would paint their party in a less than favorable light.

Here at Blogging Blue, we do not censor and actually welcome all views. That being said, we will use their categories and feel free to leave your choices in the comments as NONE will be deleted.


You can nominate an elected official, agency employee or capitol journalist for any or all of the following categories:

Taxpayer Hero
Taxpayer Villain
Friend of the Free Market
Outstanding Citizen-Legislator
Most Powerful Capitol Player
Least Effective Capitol Player
Jedi Mind Trick Double Speaker
Mr. or Mrs. Sensitivity
Steel Spine
Spine of Jello

If you have other topics/nominees post those also:

The uncensored bi-partisan public forum is now OPEN: