There is only one truly contested House seat in Wisconsin, and that is in the 8th Congressional District. Former GOP Speaker of the State Assembly, and per diem manipulator extraordinaire, John Gard, is in the race of his life as he faces Democratic nominee Steve Kagen. When it comes to making the political process unseemly there are few that do it better than Gard. Talking as a fiscal conservative, but acting with pure greed as his motivation, he has used state per diem to make lots of extra cash for himself while serving as a legislator.
For years Gard collected the $88 per day for legislators who live outside Dane County, despite owning a home and living in Sun Prairie, which is located just outside Madison. This per diem wasn’t just spare change! By the end of 2005 Gard had reaped $39,931 above what he was supposedly to have received since he actually lived in Dane County while representing his northern Assembly District. Some people have no shame!
The voters in the 8th CD are not stupid, and therefore understand a fraud when they see one, and that is why the latest St. Norbert College poll has Gard and Kagen tied at 43% each. The poll also found that 10% of the electorate is undecided. The poll found 17% of the respondents considered themselves independent, and in most other districts around the country this group is breaking for the Democratic choice for Congress.
The most important factor for those polled when picking a candidate to vote for was character, honesty, and integrity. Given how Gard misused his power as Speaker and took per diem in a manner that was unethical, the voters must conclude he would operate in the same fashion if sent to Congress. Given how John Gard already has learned how to make money off the taxpayers while in Madison, just imagine what he could do for himself in Washington, D.C.