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Scott Jensen And His Get Out Of Jail Card For Christmas

December 20, 2010

Not for the first time does the long and unseemly tale of Scott Jensen, former Republican Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly, leave most just shaking their head.  The news on Monday regarding Jensen getting a plea deal was not so unexpected, but all the same made lots of folks angry when hearing the facts of the deal.

Former Republican Assembly speaker Scott Jensen resolved the criminal case against him involving misconduct in office charges by agreeing to pay a $5,000 civil forfeiture on Monday and reimbursing the state $67,174 in legal fees initially borne by taxpayers, according to a plea deal that was reached. 

Under the agreement accepted by Waukesha County Circuit Judge Patrick L. Snyder, felony misconduct in office charges against Jensen were dismissed. Jensen pleaded no contest to one count related to violating standards of conduct for public officials and was found guilty by Snyder. It is an ethics code violation related to Jensen using the position for economic gain, although the prosecutor said there was no personal financial gain for Jensen.

Let us not forget some very hard facts.

Scott Jensen was found guilty of three felonies and one misdemeanor after a jury of his peers heard weeks of testimony about the former speaker using state employees for campaign purposes.  An appeals court overturned that decision, but on a technicality.

I think many felt that if there was going to be a plea deal that the end result would have to serve the cause of justice.  In other words any plea deal, even though the three felony convictions were overturned, and there was no reason to assume that another jury would not also convict him of his crimes, would have to be tough.

After all, the actions of  Scott Jensen are no more right today than when he committed them while serving in the Wisconsin Legislature.

In light of that what we got today was a very disappointing outcome.

What this all says about the way justice plays out in Wisconsin is very disturbing.  Bet the guys who do drugs and sell some on the side wish they could get the same deal the former Republican Speaker of the Assembly received.  Jensen used tax dollars and state staff for his partisan purposes, and undermined the faith that voters have in our government.  The result was a slap on the wrist.

What we witnessed for years from Scott Jensen is what can happen to a person if they are in political circles with money and contacts.  The whole idea of delaying and stalling was front and center with Jensen and his lawyers.  That left the citizenry of the state  only able to watch as the wheel of justice wobbled along in this case.  When it started to churn again we got the result of this weak plea deal. 

Worse than the plea deal is the fact Scott Jensen has not yet acknowledged the corrosive effect his actions had on the political process.  His statement after the deal was made known was light and fluffy.  He said it was a “bright, bright, sunshiny day”.  No remorse, no reflection.  Why should there be?    After all, no one held Jensen accountable for his actions.

While legal safeguards are in place to insure that a defendant has the right to pursue all the routes for a fair trial and legal process, there is also the need for the state to see justice not perverted by legal slickness.  We all have reasons to be concerned when someone with financial means uses the legal system to maneuver around justice, in an attempt to evade it.  And that is what Scott Jensen did.  He did not just attempt to do it.  He succeeded.

So what is next for Scott Jensen?

How about a pardon request to Scott Walker? 

Why should the long and unseemly tale end now?

6 Comments
  1. Ferrell Gummitt permalink
    December 21, 2010 6:36 PM

    So let me get this right, $72,000 in fines for 3 felonies and 1 misdemenor?!!!

    Did he also get a hug, a bedtime story and a glass of warm milk from the judge??

  2. Mark permalink
    December 21, 2010 11:12 AM

    Great blog post about Scooter!

    You hit the nail on every issue that needed to be mentioned. Your blog remains a must read heer at the office. There are three of us, btw.

    Merry Christmas from up the street somewhere……

  3. Keith Schmitz permalink
    December 20, 2010 8:10 PM

    No doubt he will be a player in Wisconsin politics on the order of Karl Rove. God help us.

  4. Publius permalink
    December 20, 2010 7:54 PM

    Too bad Scott Jensen couldn’t get the same deal as Julie Lassa or Shirley Krug.

    Hey, anyone know if Krug is still working for Tom Barrett?

    http://www3.jsonline.com/news/state/apr04/223717.asp

    http://julielassaisacrook.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/the-strange-case-of-lassa-v-rongstad/

  5. December 20, 2010 5:49 PM

    Brad Schimel, the Waukesha DA, has a bright future in State republican politics, you betcha!

  6. Skippy permalink
    December 20, 2010 5:36 PM

    For the Waukesha District Attorney to say in his statement that “the entire caucus system has since been dissolved” and that “the problem has been eliminated at the root” shows that he has no knowledge of the true facts. Although the caucuses were eliminated, the players remain in leadership offices, and although new rules were put in place, they serve to cover asses and the rules themselves are violated, just as before the scandal occurred. Campaign activity is still conducted under the dome and thanks to Scott getting off without a felony conviction the corruption will continue.

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