Conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, an ally of Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), is currently facing ethics charges due to allegations that he placed a fellow justice in a chokehold during an argument. Walker, however, now appears to have adopted a selection process for new members of this commission that will ensure Prosser will receive favorable treatment in the future:
Gov. Scott Walker relied on recommendations from a former Assembly speaker who once worked for state Supreme Court Justice David Prosser in appointing members of a commission investigating Prosser, newly released records show.
Three of the five people Walker appointed to the state Judicial Commission earlier this year were presented to the governor by former Assembly Speaker John Gard, the president of Wisconsin Businesses Inc. and a former lobbyist for school voucher proponents School Choice Wisconsin.
Gard told an aide to Walker that he had found people for the commission who were “fiercely conservative” and “will never wimp out,” according to an email recently released along with other documents under the state’s open records law. Gard also wrote that he’d told one of the appointees “what we were looking for and (he) said he would do it if needed,” but Gard’s email didn’t provide more specifics than that.
If it were not for the fact that a state governor’s decisions actually impact millions of lives, this kind of backroom dealing would be comic. Here we have a corporate lobbyist and former staffer to a prominent politician handpicking the people who will investigate whether that same politicians violated ethics rules — and all the time promising that these “fiercely conservative” appointments can be relied upon to toe the party line on an ethics commission.
The mere fact that in Scott Walker’s Wisconsin there is a party line to be toed on ethics is itself extraordinary.