I wrote recently about some prime examples of Republican thuggery. Recently the Capitol Times ran a story by Steven Elbow on bad behavior at the capitol. While most of it was run of the mill stuff, a couple different stories stuck out to Elbow(and me). Unfortunately Steven Elbow did not do much follow through on these stories so I thought I would dig a little deeper.
1. One involved state Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, the Republican Senate majority leader who spent much of February trying to corral 14 Democratic senators who high-tailed it out of the state to avoid voting on the collective bargaining rights bill, a move that deprived Republicans of a quorum to vote on the measure.
On Feb. 17, the day the Democrats vanished, Sen. Mark Miller’s chief of staff, Jamie Kuhn, contacted police to complain that Fitzgerald went off on her.
“Fitzgerald told Kuhn that she was stupid and Miller was stupid, amongst other mean and hurtful things,” the state Capitol Police report says. “Kuhn was intimidated by Fitzgerald’s aggressive and angry nature during the conversation.”
Kuhn went to Fitzgerald’s office to tell the senator that she couldn’t get hold of Miller after Fitzgerald staffer John Hogan visited Miller’s office to say that “if her boss didn’t get the Democrats back into the state (Fitzgerald) was going to fire all of Miller’s staff,” according to the report.
Kuhn asked the officer to stay near Miller’s office until she left the building to avoid any further disturbances. She also told the officer that “she didn’t want to make a big deal out of this or have Fitzgerald or his staff involved in the report.”
There was no indication that the officer contacted Fitzgerald’s office about the matter, but he obviously felt it was worth mentioning.
Fitzgerald, who told me he doesn’t even remember the incident, says that he was reaching a boiling point at the time because Miller had completely “checked out.”
“At that time, even his staff was saying, ‘We can’t get him. He will not return our phone calls,'” Fitzgerald says. “It was a difficult period of time because I was making decisions about my staff, other legislators’ staffs, Democrats’ staffs, the whole thing.”
Fitzgerald, who days later unsuccessfully tried to have Miller detained by police and brought by force to the Capitol, says: “There certainly were some heated exchanges. I don’t remember the one you’re referring to, but it was a difficult time, there’s no doubt about it.”
I called Senator Fitzgerald’s office to see if this was everyday behavior for the Senate Minority Leader. Since Fitzgerald can’t remember yelling at a female staffer of another Senator so harshly it caused her to call the police, I wondered if this is such everyday behavior that it did not stand out. So I asked the person who answered the phone that question and not wanting to tell on his boss, he immediately passed me on to Andrew – “communications director”:
JS: Does Senator Fitzgerald make it a habit of yelling at other Senators staffers so badly that they feel the need to call the police?
Andrew: “that’s a loaded question buddy.”
JS: Well its in a police report and Senator Fitzgerald said he did not remember the incident, usually you do not remember something when its a common occurrence.
Andrew: Have you not ever had tensions boil a little bit at your work place?
JS: Not enough that the police had to be called.
Andrew: I will answer your question when you have a fair one.
JS: Has he ever yelled at you like that?
Andrew: (pause) I am not going to answer that.
JS: Thanks that tells me what I needed to know. Have a great weekend.
Andrew: Good Luck with that.
So it appears(though not surprisingly) that Scott Fitzgerald our Senate majority leader is not only a bully but an unprofessional hot head who will yell at anyone when he does not get his way. He obviously has his staff and everyone else’s staff scared to be around him and he has proven himself not fit to lead! Let’s hope he is the minority leader by August. Also, if you want to call his office and let the Senate Majority leader know that you expect more out of someone so prominent in Wisconsin than to yell and berate women staffers, his phone number is (608)266-5660.
2. In another Capitol moment, on Feb. 19 a state trooper responded to a report of an “intoxicated subject” and found a staffer for Rep. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, sitting on a bench. When approached, a deeply besotted Jonathan Pollitt informed the cops that he’d locked his “f—ing keys” in Ballweg’s office and wanted help retrieving them, the report says.
Turns out, Pollitt had the keys, but he was trying to get into the wrong office.
The trooper opened Ballweg’s door with a key provided by Pollitt, but because Pollitt didn’t have any identification, the trooper didn’t let him in.
“You are so fired,” Pollitt reportedly told the officer.
The trooper agreed to take Pollitt to the Capitol Police office so he could be identified. At the office Pollitt continued to berate the officers.
“You think you’re exempt from the Senate bill, but I’ll have you fired,” he told officers, apparently referring to the fact that Walker’s proposal to strip public workers of collective bargaining rights didn’t apply to public safety employees.
Long story short, Pollitt was given a chance to walk away, he didn’t, and was eventually handcuffed and taken to detox.
Pollitt, who wasn’t charged with anything, declined comment.
“I’m actually not allowed to make any sort of comment to the media,” he says.
Interesting story here that I felt needed some follow up. Was Pollitt drunk on taxpayer time? taxpayer expense? Do republican staffers have the ability to fire police? Since when aren’t staffers allowed to talk to the media? Was Pollitt’s just voicing what the republican caucus felt? When I called a nice guy on the staff named Vince answered.
JS: I am calling because of the Capitol Times Story on Jonathan Pollitt to see if being drunk at the Capitol was standard practice and if it was on the taxpayers dime.
Vince: Let’s just say that Jonathan Pollitt no longer works here.
JS: Ok thank you have a great day!
So Jonathan Pollitt no longer works for Representative Ballweg. I will be awaiting Mr. Pollitt\'s appointment to a supervisory position within the Walker Administration. If that does not work out, Pollitt and Brian Deschane can go into business together!