This is just silly and we shouldn’t still be talking about this (and Rep. Dale Kooyenga agrees) but when someone should just apologize for doing something stupid and get on with life, well he can’t resist getting as silly as he possibly can (Why Am I Paying For This? Or You For That Matter?).
But here is the gist of the continuing saga of that sign in the state Capitol and the good state representative and hopeful state senator.
State Rep. Dale Kooyenga said he removed a protest sign from the state Capitol last year — an act that is costing taxpayers $30,000 — in part because his military training had taught him the placement of the sign could endanger the public.
“I’m not going to give the complete details, but the military, when I was in the military, military intelligence — and when you have something like a sign against a curved wall in a place where it shouldn’t be, is that is a clear risk, OK?” he told the crowd. “You can’t just leave signs that conceal something in the public.”
Kooyenga on Thursday stood by his claim that the sign was a safety risk.
“A sign offers an opportunity to conceal,” he said.
I would think his military training would have actually told him to contact the authorities in charge of maintaining order and safety in the Capitol, the Capitol Police, instead of taking it upon himself to remove the sign. I would think his military training would also have told him to contact the authorities to explain what he had to done to mitigate a ‘risk’ to the Capitol and the public.
What if that sign had been concealing something nefarious as he now claims he suspected? What if he had triggered a bomb or other weapon by moving it? I am pretty confident he knew there was no risk…the sign was just…a sign. And once removed shouldn’t it have been turned over to the Capitol Police to determine if a crime had been committed in posting it? Instead he took the sign and hid it in his office and that was only discovered after the security videos were examined.
None of his story holds water…it seems more in line with exactly what State Senator Jon Erpenbach said:
“This had nothing to do with military training,” Erpenbach said. “It had to do with he can’t control his emotions.”
Going back to my original post (see link above) from earlier this week. Why are tax payers on the hook for the $30,000 settlement? Well Rep. Kooyenga defends the use of tax payer funds:
He noted the state does not make its employees pay personally when they reach court settlements for their actions as government employees. He cited as an example a recent $18.9 million settlement the state reached with a teen inmate who was severely brain damaged after she hanged herself in her cell.
“When that happens, the state doesn’t go after individuals, they, the state has funds set aside for legal settlements,” Kooyenga said. “Because the cost of maintaining legal action throughout the whole process is expensive.”
I have said this before…an elected official is not in the traditional sense, a state employee. Yes they get paid by the state but are elected to office. They aren’t interviewed and hired through a typical employment process. They don’t have assigned job titles and tasks and supervisors and roles to fill in a state department or agency. I understand the reason the state pays for settlements for employees they hire and oversee and instruct…and who they can fire. But to me an elected official is something of a free agent here and should be responsible for her/his actions. Rep. Dale Kooyenga owes the State of Wisconsin $30,000 and he should be expected to pay up.
And he should never be considered as qualified for any elected offices of any kind in the future…period.
One last word from the representative on this sham brouhaha.
“This is a political, let’s-go-after-Representative-Kooyenga (move),” Kooyenga said. “This is a political action. This was not a criminal action. This is a civil action by a person who’s aligned with the opposition. It was a political act.”
Yes sir, it was a political act. By one State Representative Dale Kooyenga who stole a sign he didn’t own because it expressed an opinion he didn’t agree with…and he didn’t expect to get caught!