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Why Sherry Schultz Matters In Wisconsin Politics

September 19, 2011

I am quite sure that most residents of Wisconsin do not recognize the name of Sherry Schultz.  In the same breath I am quite sure they would not approve of what she did while working in state government.

And that is why I write this post.

On the face of it one has to feel a bit sorry for Sherry Schultz as at one time she was riding high while working in the office of former Lt. Gov. Scott McCallumShe served him, by all accounts, most ably as his chief of staff.  She then moved around Republican circles, and was caught up in the Republican Caucus mess that blew up in Speaker Scott Jensen’s face.

All the players in the well-publicized scandal exited the judicial system one way or another, and are again making money.  Some are playing in the political circles they once were elected to serve in.

Meanwhile Sherry Schultz is about to go back to court.

For the record I must say I was moved a bit when I read that she has been working in a fabric store.  Nothing wrong with the job, but after being a top Republican staffer and rubbing shoulders with powerful movers and shakers it has to feel pretty bad to be placing bolts of cloth back on the racks.

So I am not here to rub her face in the past in order to make her feel bad.

But yet there needs to be accountability for what was done to the political process.    The process that people read about, and as a consequence feel less inclined to trust once knowing the truth.

In a nutshell Schultz  was on the public payroll to work full-time raising money for GOP candidates.  She was paid with taxpayer money to serve a purely partisan purpose.  By all accounts she did a cracker-jack job, and if she had been employed outside the statehouse no one would be chastising her, but wanting her skills for this or that campaign. 

But Schultz knew, as did those who employed her, that what she was doing on state time was illegal.  That it was done covertly and not done in eyesight of journalists makes the point. 

Some will argue that the lowest person always is the one to get tagged while the real power players walk away.  I think it can be argued that all those who made truly bad decisions regarding the political caucus scandal under the dome paid a price.

The voters place responsibility, and entrust their faith to those who work at the statehouse.   Be they elected officials or staff  it is a bond that then requires those who receive a state paycheck to act with honor.  

When that trust is broken, as with Schultz, not only is the law violated, but the trust of the voter is shattered. When that faith from the voters is replaced with doubt and cynicism our political institutions suffer.

To my knowledge never once has Schultz acknowledged the corrosive effect her actions had on the political process. That to me is almost as bad as the actual crimes that were committed.  If she stood up and made a heart-felt statement of how this action harmed the system I would feel that she at least understands.

The human part of me is not going to be high-flying if the courts actually come after Sherry Schultz with gusto. She seems to have had a long hard time in the past years, and I am not heartless to that fact.   But I also am not going to shy away from knowing that justice is being served if she indeed is brought back to face her past political actions.

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