May 29, 2012

Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate commits a Class I felony...

... punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

64 comments:

MadisonMan said...

I suppose it's a good law -- do people really sell votes? I mean, how effective would that be?

Don't see much Criminal Intent. Waste of money to prosecute, IMO.

Matthew Sablan said...

That's a law that sounds weird, but I guess, makes sense. And, since both parties tripped up, it isn't intuitive. (I didn't intuit it either!) But, how does making it illegal to take a picture of doing something illegal make it less likely someone doing the first will be dissuaded from the second?

"Whoa, there. Selling my vote is my one felony for the year Walker. You want me to take a picture of it too? That's... that's just indecent asking me to break TWO laws."

Original Mike said...

Supposedly, we all commit 1 or 2 felonies every day.

We have too many crimes.

Original Mike said...

"I suppose it's a good law -- do people really sell votes?"

"Votes for smokes."

jimspice said...

Now why would you report only the (D) doing it when a (R) was busted as well.

Original Mike said...

I read somewhere that in the past (late 1800's, IIRC), ballots in some jurisdictions, were color coded by party. That way, the guy who bought your vote could tell that you indeed voted as you said you would.

Jay Retread said...

"Now why would you report only the (D) doing it when a (R) was busted as well."
Because she is a hack. They exist on both sides.

Scott M said...

Now why would you report only the (D) doing it when a (R) was busted as well.

Just a guess, but

a) AA isn't a reporter.

b) probably not for the same reason NPR does it constantly, but the outcome is the same, I suppose.

Ann Althouse said...

If there were merely a possibly that Walker had committed this felony, Democrats would be having orgasms of glee and going on and on about John Doe.

Either these technical violations that happen to be crimes matter or they do not.

Original Mike said...

"Now why would you report only the (D) doing it when a (R) was busted as well."

Just to piss you off. Though there is a decided difference in "rank" here: Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate and St. Croix County Republican Party Chairman Jesse Garza

traditionalguy said...

If they read Althouse Blog they would have known tht law a week ago.

What was that phrase, "... ignorance of the law is no excuse..." which is used when ever a strong group finds a weak scapegoat available to be fed to the wolves as Criminals, I say Criminals who did Crimes? That's right, Crimes right here in River City.

David said...

Isn't his name John Doe?

Bryan C said...

"The violation is a Class I felony, punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine. However, it's unlikely prosecutors would be aggressive about seeking charges."

Oh, so it's one of those super-serious Class I felonies that nobody knows about and is never actually enforced. Until it is. That's the best kind.

Petunia said...

Non-story. Law that most people didn't know about, people who violated it corrected the violation immediately, no harm, no foul.

Even if it had involved only one party instead of both, still a non-story.

MadisonMan said...

"Votes for smokes."

That's more like buying votes.

I envisioning someone trying to sell their vote, and am wondering how you'd go about that. Take out an ad? Walk down to the local Party HQ?

Althouse says: Either these technical violations that happen to be crimes matter or they do not.

I'd say they do not. Like Matthew Sablan notes, if selling your vote is illegal, isn't that enough? Why make taking a picture of you selling your vote illegal also? Other things that could be made illegal:

Telling your dog that you sold your vote.

Showing your talking parakeet your completed ballot, and posting a youtube video of the parakeet divulging your vote.

Writing in your diary that you sold your vote.

Blogging that you told your dog that you sold your vote.

traditionalguy said...

Hmmm. Do you mean those three shrews in Meade's picture on equal pay will next be seen having orgasms of glee with endorphin induced sweet smiles for a week.

That might be worth the trouble of Barrett seeming to win...but be sure to save the Waukeshaw Precinct vote in reserve as the morning after pill.

roesch/voltaire said...

Good "moderate" headline to just mention the Democrat and not the Republican who broke the same law.

Original Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew Sablan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew Sablan said...

"Good "moderate" headline to just mention the Democrat and not the Republican who broke the same law."

-- Do you and Jim Spice now understand Republicans' fun with games of Name That Party?

EDH said...

Hell, the government is a vote-buying Leviathan.

Ann Althouse said...

"Good "moderate" headline to just mention the Democrat and not the Republican who broke the same law."

Who cares about some St. Croix county level guy? It's not interesting. Faux balance bullshit.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Hell, the government is a vote-buying Leviathan."

-- Governments are never so crass as to proposition an individual though.

Tom Spaulding said...

Oops, there's the Gazette reporting that current Governor Scott Walker has been, "stripping collective bargaining rights" again...rights that apparently were bestowed by the former governor The Venerable Gaylord Nelson, Bestower of Collective Bargaining Rights.

Rabel said...

12.13 Election Fraud.
(f) Shows his or her marked ballot to any person or places a mark upon the ballot so it is identifiable as his or her ballot.

It depends on what the meaning of "shows" is.

Clinton could beat the rap.

Smith said...

Who cares about some St. Croix county level guy?

The felony does, faux Moderate.

Jay said...

roesch/voltaire said...
Good "moderate" headline to just mention the Democrat and not the Republican who broke the same law.



Mommmy, waaaahhhhhhhh!

jimspice said...
Now why would you report only the (D) doing it when a (R) was busted as well.


Mommmy, waaaahhhhhhhh!

Oh, and Ann isn't a "reporter," genius.

Jay Retread said...
Because she is a hack. They exist on both sides.


Mommmy, waaaahhhhhhhh!

Oh, and remember, liberals are good, government is benevolent, and your political opponents are dumb.

Jackson said...

I wonder what this is all about?

"Those familiar with the exchange - the emails were among the documents seized by authorities - say it has to do with the county's efforts to find private or public office space for its Department on Aging. Milwaukee County prosecutors have been investigating whether there was an attempt at bid-rigging in that case."

http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/noquarter/significance-of-email-exchanges-wont-be-revealed-for-a-while-u85i7u3-155144405.html

Christopher in MA said...

Good "moderate" headline to just mention the Democrat and not the Republican who broke the same law.

Scooter Libby to the white courtesy phone, please.

Fen said...

Garage to the White Courtesy Phone, Garage to the ----

No wonder the chickenshit is hiding out.

Amartel said...

Wrist. Slap. Fine paid out of war chest donations. The. End.

Chip Ahoy said...

I'm trying to imagine doing that. I guess the enthusiasm is part of the job. I aint no museum curater, but I knows an exhibitionist.

Scott M said...

Scooter Libby to the white courtesy phone, please.

No...the white one.

ndspinelli said...

This might fall into that great legal commenter, Whoopi Glodberg's, "It's not rapey rape" category.

gadfly said...

Ignorance of the law is not a defense. When will the trial begin?
This conviction will make up for all the lies told about Governor Walker.

Lyle said...

This shouldn't be a crime or felony, me thinks.

MadisonMan said...

No...the white one.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to give up smoking.

James said...

Got a chuckle from a Salon article this morning. I think the claim made in the quoted paragraph is news to Wisconsin voters:

Obama's Wis. harbinger

"The Republican incumbent has led by a margin in the mid-single digits for the past few weeks, though Democrats insist their internal polls are closer. Tom Barrett, the Democratic candidate, turned in an aggressive and generally well-received performance in a Friday debate, the first of two head-to-head showdowns, and is now playing up the ongoing federal inquiry into Walker’s fundraising practices from his days as a county executive. The possibility of a late charge by Barrett can’t be dismissed, but he enters the campaign’s final days as a decided underdog."

Jim Gust said...

Please, can we get rid of these BS laws that no one ever intends to enforce?

Scott M said...

Looks like I picked the wrong week to give up smoking.

Tell that to George Zip.

Titus said...

What will happen in Wisconsin if Walker wins the recall?

Will it be like Syria?

tits.

Christopher in MA said...

Tell that to George Zip.

Has he ever been to a Turkish bath?

Scott M said...

Has he ever been to a Turkish bath?

See a broad to get dat booty yak 'em, leg 'er down a smack 'em yak 'em!

Michael Haz said...

Mike Tate should be treated exactly the same way as Mike Tate would treat Governor Walker, had Governor Walker done the exact same thing.

Fen said...

Wrist. Slap. Fine paid out taxpayer dollars stolen by unions and funneled to war chest donations. The. End.

/fixed

Seeing Red said...

---Oops, there's the Gazette reporting that current Governor Scott Walker has been, "stripping collective bargaining rights" again...rights that apparently were bestowed by the former governor The Venerable Gaylord Nelson, Bestower of Collective Bargaining Rights----



Ohhh, a lesson in The Constitituion, what 1 king giveth, the other can take away.

Sayyy, KELO?

Petunia said...

Nick! Heath! Jarrod! There's a fire in the barn!

edutcher said...

How can you know what you have to forge if you don't have a picture?

Sofa King said...

I'd say they do not. Like Matthew Sablan notes, if selling your vote is illegal, isn't that enough?

In this case, a straight transactional ban is nearly unenforceable, so the law targets possession of the evidence needed to facilitate such a transaction as well. With no evidence, the buyer can't have confidence that he's getting what he's paying for.

Big Mike said...

I'd like to know whether Tate or Garza is a lawyer. If so then it's my personal opinion that they have a special responsibility to know the law.

PatHMV said...

This illustrates the fundamental problem with moving away from the mandated secret ballot, either by expanded absentee voting, internet voting, mail voting, or what have you. It should be physically impossible for a voter to prove how he or she voted to anyone outside the ballot booth. Laws banning providing such proof cannot possible be enforced on a wide-spread basis, as both parties to a vote-buying offense are criminals.

These guys obviously made an innocent mistake, and that's why it came to public attention. If they were some morality-challenged voter willing to sell a vote in return for $5, some cigarettes, a continued job, escape from pressure at church or the labor union, etc., then the proof of voting would be provided in private, and quickly destroyed thereafter. Without an elaborate sting operation, there would be no way for a prosecutor to establish the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

karrde said...

@roesch/voltaire,

Matthew Sablan does have a point.

I am so used to seeing Republican after the names of scandal-ridden politicians, and not seeing Democrat when it should be mentioned. I now find myself habitually assuming Democrat if no political party is mentioned in connection with a scandal.

This is the first time in a while that I've seen anything that looks opposite. While it may not be fair, it is humorous to notice.

I note that while Althouse's phrasing implies that the Democrat Party Chair is the only offender, a literal reading only says that he is an offender.

Do you think that it is more intelligent to accept the implication or to doubt the implication? Do you think that the average journalist (or headline writer) should be trusted to not give dishonest implications? What about bloggers like Althouse?

karrde said...

I must disagree with most of the commenters here.

The law should be applied as written. If the law needs to be changed, the best way to drive that change is to apply it in all cases where it could be applicable. People will realize how poorly-written/overbroad the law is, and either a judge or a legislature will change it.

If the law doesn't need to be changed, then it should still be enforced.

It's the principle of the thing, in my mind.

purplepenquin said...

Now why would you report only the (D) doing it when a (R) was busted as well.

It is all part of the business plan. Most of the people who visit this blog...and thus click the Amazon links...tend to lean right.

I'm just surprised that she didn't try to prove that "the unions" were also involved in this illegal act. That battlecry always seems to rally the troops up....

Curious George said...

The last thing I want is Mike Tate going to jail.

Scott M said...

The last thing I want is Mike Tate going to jail.

If that happens, don't you think his brother, Terry, the office linebacker, would be able to bust him out? The movie almost writes itself.

Bill Reeves said...

Hey, whaddya expect: these days everything is against the law. Heck I'm probably breaking several right now...

crosspatch said...

This illustrates the problem I have with voting by mail. Some places such as Oregon do ALL of their voting by mail. An employer, union steward, neighborhood thug, whatever, to a particularly vulnerable employee might demand to mark up their ballot, have them sign it and mail it.

We have already seen such actions where SEIU employees came to the homes of some people during a union vote, took the ballots out of their mailboxes when they could, marked them up and demanded that the person sign it stating it was their vote. In cases where they could not access the ballot, they demanded the worker show them the ballot and then took it from them and marked it up. They were then intimidated with words to the effect of "remember, we know where you live" if they should tell anyone.

Voting by mail is just such a bad idea in so many ways. People can vote practically any number of ballots, too, thanks to phony registrations.

Voting in person limits the number of ballots one may cast to the number of different polling stations one may visit. Voting by mail is just asking for voter fraud.

Big Mike said...

@Curious, the way things are going for Democrats in Wisconsin, there may be a number of Democrats who would be pleased to see him hauled off to jail.

Stephen said...

1. Do you think either the Democrat or the Republican did anything morally wrong, as opposed to something technically in violation of the statute?

2. Wouldn't the statute,on these facts, be unconstitutional as applied? That is, could you constitutionally punish people who display their ballots not to collect a payment, but rather as part of an effort to rally support for their cause?

3. Don't the answers to both these questions suggest that (a) you're making a basically silly point and (b)that leaving out the Republican really does reflect partisan bias?

Methadras said...

Why are they still called Democratic. Absurd.

Joe said...

Doesn't this reinforce the problem of having so many laws you have no clue what they are or when you violate them?

JHapp said...

A person has a right to sell his vote. It is his vote to sell and advertise. It should be a felony for a legislator to vote for a law that later becomes unconstitutional.