Smoke And Mirrors

We’ve all heard the phrase “where’s there’s smoke there’s fire”. It’s often true, though it’s equally true that oftentimes where’s there’s smoke there are mirrors. What does ” smoke and mirrors ” mean? The Cambridge dictionary defines the phrase as follows: ” Something that is described as smoke and mirrors is intended to make you believe that something is being done or is true, when it is not:. It’s typically associated with magicians, tricksters and unscrupulous political hacks. Cue Dan O’ Donnell.

Following the release this week of Green Bay City Attorney Vanessa Chavez’ 19 page report detailing her investigation into the city’s November 2020 election, O’Donnell, writing for the MacIver Institute, breathlessly proclaims that the report incriminates ” The City of Green Bay”. Here’s O’Donnell’s opening salvo:

The City of Green Bay handled the November election perfectly.  Says who? Why, the City of Green Bay, of course.  City Attorney Vanessa Chavez’s newly released report was intended to absolve Mayor Eric Genrich and his staff of any blame, but it made several key admissions that underscore just how corrupt the city’s mishandling really was.

O’Donnell goes on, (and on and on and on), to reference the emails sent by former Green Bay City Clerk Kris Teske to city officials expressing her vague and unspecified frustrations with how the election processes were proceeding. What gets only passing mention from O’Donnell is that Teske declined to speak to Chavez for the report, as did former Deputy City Clerk Kim Wayte. Wayte took over primary election administration duties for the city after Teske left her position in late October. But though Wayte declined to speak to Chavez for this report, she was quoted last November in a Green Bay Press/Gazette article. Here’s what she said about the November election:

The city of Green Bay was one of the last major municipalities to report its results early Wednesday morning. However, Green Bay Deputy Clerk Kim Wayte said the large quantity of absentee ballots simply takes longer to count. 

“I think it went as well as it could’ve for the amount. … It was done the way it was supposed to be done and the way we’ve always done it,” she said.

Wait….whaaaaaat? Not only was it done the way it’s supposed to be done, according to Wayte, but ” the way we’ve always done it”.

This explains why Wayte wasn’t called to testify at the Assembly Campaign and Elections Committee hearing last month. The committee issued a press release post-hearing stating that a second hearing would be held and that subpoenas might be issued for Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich, former City Clerk Kris Teske and others to testify. How much you wanna bet Kim Wayte doesn’t get a subpoena?

At this point Democrats in the Assembly should go on the offensive. Demand a second committee hearing ASAP, widely publish your own witness list, and do a media blitz statewide for the sake of election integrity. Counterpunch. Don’t let this stuff fester.

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