Will Scott Walker Pardon Scott Jensen?

A couple of days ago I posed a question.

So what is next for Scott Jensen?

How about a pardon request to Scott Walker? 

Why should the long and unseemly tale end now?

Seems we have an answer, for now. 

I would like to take Scott Walker at his word when he says he would not pardon Scott Jensen for his crimes, but I really have no reason to believe Walker just yet.   After all Walker was a part of the political culture just as Jensen was.  I was part of the political culture too at that time on the Democratic side.   So I know for a fact that there are many words and deeds that Walker must engage in before I will trust that a new page under the statehouse dome has emerged.

Governor-elect Scott Walker indicated Tuesday he would not pardon former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, who was convicted of a misdemeanor for using state resources to campaign.

As part of the deal, Jensen agreed not to appeal the 2006 misdemeanor conviction. Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel says that prevents him from running for future office because of a state constitutional provision that bars people from appearing on ballots if they have been convicted of a violation of the public trust.

Asked Tuesday if he would consider pardoning Jensen, Walker shook his head and said, “No, I think the criminal justice process worked itself out. The judge made a decision there. My guess is he’s just ready to move forward.”

Jensen and Walker, both Republicans, served in the Assembly together.

Wisconsin State Journal Tackles Scott Jensen Plea Deal

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.

Scott Jensen And His Get Out Of Jail Card For Christmas

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?

Republican Scott Jensen Using Still More Legal Tactics To Delay Justice

Here we go again on the tortured path of ‘justice’ in Wisconsin.

When Republican Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen was originally charged in 2002 with using state resources and state workers for partisan work on state time ,who would have thought that in late 2010 we would still be trying to get the guy to admit his crimes and do his time?

The latest from the never-ending Scott Jensen saga of how to slow and delay the process of justice in Wisconsin took place today.

Attorneys preparing for former Republican Assembly speaker Scott Jensen’s new trial on misconduct in office charges want access to dozens of boxes of records and transcripts from the secret John Doe investigation related to the Democratic side of the Assembly.

The John Doe proceeding in 2001 and 2002 led to charges being filed against both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, including Jensen, as part of the state caucus scandal.

During Jensen’s original trial in Dane County, records only from the Republican side of the John Doe probe were admitted, according to comments made in Waukesha County Circuit Court on Monday by prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Jensen, 50, of Brookfield, was in court Monday for a status conference on his new trial, which is being handled by Waukesha County Circuit Judge Patrick L. Snyder.

The John Doe records are the first issue of the retrial being undertaken by the court.

Jensen was charged in 2002 with misconduct in public office, accused of using state resources and state workers to campaign for Assembly Republicans in 1998 and 2000 elections. Four other legislative leaders from both parties were charged around the same time.

All but Jensen accepted plea agreements.

Would You Want Scott Jensen Working On Your Campaign This Fall?

If this is the year that the voters turn their anger on the established political system, then would it be wise to have Scott Jensen, the former Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly, doing work for any political campaign?  Since Scott Jensen was  criminally charged in 2002 for misconduct in public office for using tax-paid employees to do campaign work for Republican candidates on state time, and then found guilty of three felonies and one misdemeanor on March 11, 2006, would anyone want to be tarred with having him assisting on a campaign in 2010? 

Since Jensen’s conviction he has undertaken an elaborate and expensive gaming of the legal system to have his guilty verdict thrown out and a new trial ordered.  After all he was charged in 2002, and this is now mid-summer 2010!  Ordinary citizens with no means at their disposal can only image what jail cell they would have served their time.  Yet, this former powerful Speaker of the Assembly has seemingly nothing to fear.

And now Scott Jensen is back into politics.

Jensen has become a senior adviser for the American Federation of Children – a group that supports tax-funded vouchers for poor kids to attend private schools.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Dan Bice says Jensen’s group is expected to be involved in some state campaigns this fall – mainly a primary for Senate Democrat Jeff Plale’s seat in South Milwaukee.

Bice says Jensen is also a key figure in the Jobs First Coalition, which is raising money for Assembly races. And he’s reportedly giving informal help to several candidates including GOP lieutenant governor hopeful Rebecca Kleefisch.

I read lots of political commentary and analysis and it all seems to trend towards a year of voter discontent about a number of issues.  One of them is the entrenched and rank smell that comes from the way the political process often plays out in both parties.  Scott Jensen is still the poster boy for all that was wrong in the statehouse.  (And perhaps still is….) But by the actions of those who have allowed Scott Jensen back into the ballgame it appears the GOP…and other conservatives…. think they are immune from the voter backlash.

Voters beware!

Tea Party Should Sink Teeth Into Wisconsin’s Scott Jensen Mess

The Tea Party in Wisconsin has their hands full these days while working to take control of Congress this fall, repealing the health care bill, and finding  a candidate that will be able to replace President Obama in 2012.  Given all those tasks ahead of them it is not fair for me to request they add another item to their agenda.  But I must ask with all sincerity for help from the Tea Party since neither the Democratic or Republican Party has been able to energize the state citizens about the never-ending quest for justice when it comes to Scott Jensen.  If there has ever been an example where both parties dropped the ball in demanding justice it has occurred with the Jensen matter.  No one wants to dig that issue up and remind the voters of what takes place at the Statehouse.  That lack of candor is not how it should be, and that is why the Tea Party can play a positive role.

Let me be clear about this.  I am sincere.  While I have had less than cheerful things to say about the Tea Party in the past, I have had even less patience for the political hi-jinks and legal back-flips of Scott Jensen, the former Republican Speaker of the Assembly.  Everyone should be upset after reading the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this weekend.  The lead paragraph should just rankle the voters.

More than seven years after former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen was charged with misconduct in office, it is unclear who will prosecute him – and when.

How many in the state could be so lucky?  How many have a war chest to fend off the law?  How many have access to the legal levers and those who know how to pull them?  Is this the way the civics class you took in high school presented the political culture? Why should a political official accused of crimes have access to greater resources in order to delay his day in court?

The problem is that no one seems to care about the Scott Jensen case.  Every now and then a lone article will surface in a newspaper about Jensen, and the failure of justice to be conducted in a timely fashion.  A couple blogs write on the topic, some talk about it over a beer after work near the Capitol.  But there is no mention of Jensen in political campaigns as no candidate wants to remind the voters of the corrupt system that swirled under the Capitol dome, and where rumors tell of it still existing in spite of ‘reforms’.  The culture that allowed for Scott Jensen to operate freely while in office seems also to be the one that allows for his serene life to continue after some serious charges were filed against him….seven years ago!

Which leads me to the Tea Party.  Let me admit that whatever else I have said about this group of people they know how to make headlines. They have made that very clear over the past year.   That is why I want them to latch onto the issue of Scott Jensen and help educate the state about the illegal political activities he engaged in, his use of taxpayer paid staff to create an unfair advantage for his party, and his artful use of the legal system to escape justice.

The Tea Party has proven they can use tough-guy talk against issues in Washington, but the Scott Jensen case that is lodged in Wisconsin between failed politics and legal stretches screams to be righted, and so needs their voice.  While the legal safeguards are in place to ensure that a defendant has the right to pursue all the routes for a fair trial and due legal process, there is also the need for the state to see justice not perverted by legal slickness.   If there is truth to the claim that those in the Tea Party think common sense should be applied again to the political process than Scott Jensen is the issue  to work on in Wisconsin.

If the Tea Party wants to sink their teeth into something that truly merits political anger it is the Scott Jensen mess in Wisconsin.

Former Wisconsin Representative Scott Jensen Still Playing Legal System

There has to be an end to the legal antics that Scott Jensen, the former Wisconsin Assembly Speaker can spin in his attempts to evade justice.  Right?  One would think so, but given the track record of this amazing and often-maddening case of twisted justice in Wisconsin there is little reason to think the costly legal maneuvers ends anytime soon.

Considering that Jensen was charged in 2002 for misconduct in public office for using tax-paid employees to do campaign work for Republican candidates on state time, and then found guilty of three felonies and one misdemeanor on March 11, 2006, only to see the court verdict thrown out on a technicality when a state appeals court ordered  a new trial should be enough theatrics for a barn-burner of a book.  But on Tuesday another chapter was added to this epic when Jensen’s legal team argued before the Supreme Court that the new trial should be held in Jensen’s home county.

The fact that criminals are tried in the county where they committed their offenses should stand in this case, in spite of a new law created in 2007 by the state legislature that allows for public officials charged with ethics violations to be tried in their home counties.  Jensen should not be grand-fathered into this new law that was drafted to curtail ethics problems in state government.

The fact is that during the time of the first trial, years before the new ethics law, attempts were made by Jensen to have his trial moved out of Dane County.  Seems that Scott Jensen is aware that his deeds, when presented to a jury of his peers, will be found running counter to the law.  And in fact that is exactly what happened in early 2006.

There have been two rulings against Jensen’s desire to have his new trial in Waukesha County.  First a Dane County judge, and then an appeals court both stated that the crimes Jensen engaged in were not of the type that were covered by the ethics law created in 2007.  Only crimes investigated by the state’s government accountability board qualify for trial in the home county of the subject in quesiton.  My question then for Scott Jensen and his legal team is why they think the literacy skills of the Supreme Court will be less than those of the appeals court?  The law as passed by the legislature when creating the Government Accountability Board will not be any different no matter how many courts read it.  (This also might be the time to ask who is paying for Scott Jensen’s legal bills, given that the lawyers are now just spitting into the wind hoping it sticks to something.)

There are two reasons that Jensen needs to stand trial again in Dane County, and face justice due to the gravity of his crimes.  The voters place responsibility upon the shoulders of, and entrust their faith to, a candidate at the time of election.  It is a bond that then requires elected officials to act with honor while in office.  When that trust is broken, as with Jensen, 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.  Never once has  Scott Jensen acknowledged the corrosive effect his actions had on the political process.  That to me is almost as bad as the actual crimes he committed.

The second reason Jensen needs to stand trial in Dane County is one that harkens back to our civics books as school children.  While the legal safeguards are in place to ensure that a defendant has the right to pursue all the routes for a fair trial and due 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 the financial means uses the legal system to maneuver around justice, in an attempt to evade it.  And that is what Scott Jensen is doing.  Not attempting to do, but doing.  And we are witnessing it.

It is time for the Wisconsin Supreme Court to bring this stage performance by Scott Jensen to a close.  It is time that he faces justice for the illegal actions he took while ‘serving’ in the state assembly.

Milwaukee Magazine: More On Scott Jensen

Interesting.  Here is some more information as follow-up to an earlier post.

In response to my story suggesting former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensencould become director of the newly formed MacIver Institute, Jensen wrote to say it’s not true. “I have a job I absolutely love at the Alliance for School Choice. They pay me well and I am passionate about my work there. I will not be leaving that post to take up any position at the MacIver Institute.”

Later, Jensen amended that somewhat, saying he is a consultant and his “main client” is the Alliance for School Choice. Jensen has done work for the group since at least 2006, when its federal tax form lists him as staff member working 38 hours a week and earning $126,045. In 2007, Jensen started a one-person consulting firm called Chartwell Strategic Advisors. Sure enough, the Alliance for School Choice tax form for 2007 dropped Jensen from the staff but added his Chartwell as a consultant, giving it $126,000.

How is it that this Washington, D.C.-based group added Jensen as a strategist?Perhaps because its former president (back when the group was called the American Education Reform Council) is Milwaukeean Susan Mitchell. Mitchell is still on the group’s board of directors. She also runs School Choice Wisconsin and has worked with Jensen and others to promote vouchers in this state.

Anyway, this seems to have left a little extra time for Jensen and Chartwell to help chart the course for the MacIver Institute. Liberal blogger Cory Liebmann foundJensen identified as the author in the PDF file for some of the Institute’s press releases.

What a field day for conspiracy theorists. Liebmann has also done some research on the group’s board of directors, which includes veteran GOP campaign activist Mark Block, who got in trouble for political campaign violations. The board chair is Fred Luber, the longtime Milwaukee business executive.