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Wisconsin State Journal Tackles Scott Jensen Plea Deal

December 21, 2010

I am quite proud that my post about Scott Jensen’s plea deal that was announced yesterday reflected almost point for point what the Wisconsin State Journal lead editorial stated today.  My post was completed late yesterday afternoon, and the newspaper rolled out their copies this morning.  In both cases it is a  complete rejection of the type of politics that Scott Jensen played, and the plea deal that leaves justice in the mud.

If you missed the print copy on your stoop here is what you should read.

Scott Jensen called Monday a “bright sunshiny day.”

But for the rest of Wisconsin and its justice system, the mood matched the weather: cold and cloudy with snow.

The former and fallen Assembly speaker from Waukesha managed to dodge a jail cell and felony charges Monday after eight years of fighting and delaying his case in court.

Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel gave Jensen an early Christmas present, with Judge Patrick L. Snyder blessing the sweetheart deal.

Instead of taking Jensen to trial for misconduct in office, Schimel slapped Jensen’s wrist with a $5,000 fine. Jensen also will have to pay back the state $67,000 that taxpayers had covered for a portion of Jensen’s legal bills.

The only good news in this bad ending to Wisconsin’s worst political scandal in a generation is that Jensen won’t be able to run for public office again. That’s because Jensen agreed not to appeal a previous misdemeanor conviction for misusing his state leadership position for private benefit. 

But the public will always remember that Jensen never served a single day behind bars — despite cheating taxpayers to give himself and his loyal pals unfair advantage in elections. Like other top lawmakers of his day — both Democrats and Republicans — Jensen turned public employees into private campaign armies that served to further his political power.

Jensen was convicted of felony misconduct in office in 2006 and sentenced to 15 months in prison. But that conviction was overturned in 2007. 

Jensen and his expensive lawyers then succeeded in moving the case to his home county of Waukesha, where Schimel came up with plenty of excuses for why he couldn’t muster another trial on behalf of good government in Wisconsin.

Schimel, as well as Snyder, should have given more thought to the terrible message their weak actions will send. They just reinforced public suspicions that prominent people with friends in high places and lots of money can dodge justice.

It’s a disturbing end to the nearly decade-long case. Jensen may have dodged a jail cell, but he’ll always be guilty in the court of public opinion for badly breaking the public trust.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. s gibson permalink
    January 18, 2011 8:33 PM

    re: jensen

    I love our Republicrat party.

    And, especially one of cronies… Mark Belling

    Back in November, Belling said Jensen’s “nickel and diming” theft of taxpayer’s money is no big deal.

    Well, I am a Libertarian, and I agree with Belling that all political parties should conduct their business with the use of Taxpayer monies!

    I think Libertarians should be given a whole lot of money to make up for all the money Republicrats received/spent over the last century. (I think 100 Trillion would do)

    I too very much like the idea of having taxpayers pay for Libertarian promotions just as Jensen/Chvala pulled off recently. In fact, I would like a whole Libertarian party staff working inside the State Capitol playing with money supplied from the public; just like the Republicrats.

    I think this would be a nice change from the usual taxpayer grafted money that only went to the Democratic and Republican parties. Why are Republicrats the sole party of privilege? Why is it they are the only ones who get the “deliver the goods”, and “make things happen”?

    Alas, the truth is Libertarians do not want to take/steal taxpayer money in the first place. They don’t even want to collect it. They are for the abolition n of the IRS.

    Yes, it is as Belling says, “it is impossible to separate politics from government”? But, it is not impossible to separate crooks from our political legislative body, and put pathological thieves in jail in order to punish and separate them from the temptation of stealing more money from the taxpayers.

    Just because you are a lawyer, and know how to parsec words, you should not be immune from the Wisconsin justice.

    Politicians and Lawyers try to seem to distinguish themselves as knowing more than anyone else. Indeed they put themselves above the rest of us each and every time they vote against their constituents will. And often times, when not gaming the system, they implement a plethora of laws, we, the unwashed masses must follow to the minutia.

    I’ve got news for Belling and Jensen…

    Scott Jensen …your part of the unwashed masses also!

  2. December 21, 2010 5:40 PM

    Thanks.

    It will be a rough year with all the antics to come from under the dome but together we will get through it.

  3. Tim Spence permalink
    December 21, 2010 5:01 PM

    Keep up the commentary, Deke! You’re becoming a must read for me daily.

    A state career service professional, currently under siege.

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