Shill: A shill, plant or stooge is a person who helps a person or organization without disclosing that he or she has a close relationship with that person or organization. Shill typically refers to someone who purposely gives onlookers the impression that he or she is an enthusiastic independent customer of a seller (or marketer of ideas) that he or she is secretly working for. The person or group that hires the shill is using crowd psychology, to encourage other onlookers or audience members to purchase the goods or services (or accept the ideas being marketed). Shills are often employed by confidence artists.
Rick Esenberg is, and always will be, a partisan hack. A mouthpiece trotted out before the press by the state GOP to render his “opinions” on a variety of topics that affect the lives of the people of Wisconsin. The trouble is, Professor Rick is a lawyer, and his opinions are different from yours or mine. I don’t mean that he holds different opinions, I mean that his opinions are part of his job as an attorney. When he is asked to “render an opinion,” he is bound by the canons of ethics for lawyers in Wisconsin. Lawyers are paid and expected to render opinions based on the facts and not on the party line. In his zeal to play the slavish lapdog to his Republican masters, he sometimes forgets this. He and Michael Gableman share this trait. But Professor Rick has never been bothered by ethical conflicts in the past, so why should he start now?
He can be guaranteed to toe the party line each and every time. The GOPs pet law professor.
So it’s always satisfying when he gets his ass handed to him in public by Peter Earle. Watch from a hearing on redistricting from July, 2011.
What makes this video so disturbing (and it is disturbing) is that, at the time, Peter Earle wondered publicly what information Professor Rick might have had access to that the rest of the hearing participants did not. How was Professor Rick able to render a legal opinion on data in such a short period of time?
Well silly me for thinking the GOP would ever play by the rules of governance. As it turns out, Voices de la Frontera, Earle’s client at the time, have now filed a complaint with the state that the GOP violated the open records law in their redistricting process.
Documents released yesterday showed that virtually all G-O-P lawmakers signed confidentiality agreements which promised not to discuss the maps while they were being written. And they were told that those who speak out could be called as witnesses in court. The documents also said that 33-of-the-58 Republican Assembly members would pick up additional voters under the new districts. The documents were released after three federal judges in the redistricting suit said G-O-P legislators filed frivolous legal requests, so they could hide their actions in creating the new maps. Those maps will be used for the first time in this fall’s elections unless the courts overturn them.
The complaint states, in part:
On June 20, 2011, Adam Foltz drafted a document captioned “General Talking Points” which he described during his sworn testimony on February 1, 2012, as talking points to guide the discussion at each of the individual meetings he had with each member of the Assembly who had previously signed a secrecy agreement. The talking points memo stated that the redistricting bill was a “placeholder map” and that “if the Senate comes back in the majority, we may come back and adjust.” Mr. Foltz testified at his deposition that the preceding sentence was referring to the then pending recall elections that were scheduled for August 9, 2011. The talking points memo also stated that “Public comments on this map may be different than what you hear in this room. Ignore the public comments.” The talking points memo then explicitly stated that the previously signed secrecy agreement applied to the individual meeting between Mr. Foltz and each individual Republican representative…. (emphasis in original)
The complaint asserts that this entire process is a violation of the Open Meetings law, a law these clowns have tripped over in the past.
So the real question I have is what did Professor Rick know and when did he know it? He certainly seemed to have some special knowledge back in July to which no one else was privy. He rendered an opinion of the fairness of the redistricting. We’re left with only two conclusions:
1. Professor Rick is incompetent and rendered a legal opinion on a limited understanding of the facts in evidence
2. Professor Rick is corrupt and rendered a legal opinion on preferential access to facts not in evidence
Which is it, Professor Rick? Take your pick…