Esslingergate, or It's Not the Crime, It's the Coverup II

The Northwestern covers my complaint about Mr. Esslinger's use of city resources for campaigning here.

A link to the city's Web site in an Oshkosh mayoral candidate's online web advertisement has resulted in a complaint to the Winnebago County District Attorney's office and changes to other candidate Web sites.

Oshkosh resident Jef Hall filed a complaint this week about an ad for mayoral candidate Paul Esslinger on The Northwestern's Web site. That ad for Esslinger, a current member of the city council, linked to Esslinger's biography on the city's Web site. Hall's complaint questioned whether the link meant that Esslinger was using city resources for campaigning.

They go on to explain that the link has changed (click here to read my take on that). Then there is this gem:

Esslinger said he consulted with the Wisconsin State Elections Board about the legality of the link before making the link part of his ad.

A spokesman for the State Elections Board said Thursday that there is no definitive answer about this issue.

(bold emphasis mine, not in the article)

That seemed odd to me. Kent Monte, who's blog is hosting the new Esslinger Bio link stated that:

Yesterday afternoon, it was pointed out that there may be an election violation with an advertisement on the ONW website front page. After confirming with the City Attorney and the SEB that although it COULD be considered a violation it would be difficult to prove that 50 hits came directly from that link. Rather than take a chance, I set up a biography on this site to allow the ONW to link to it rather than the city site.

The seems 100% contradictory to me. Mr. Esslinger claims, in a statement to a Northwestern reporter, to have called the SEB before making the link (which happened last Sat - Mar 24), while Monte claims they did not call them until after I filed my complaint, Wed - Mar 28.

So, I called the SEB back... I spoke to Kyle Richmond, the same person that Bethany Warner from the Northwestern spoke to for her story. He indicated to me that Mr. Esslinger did call in and speak with Richard Bohringer, the gentleman I spoke with previously and also with their Legal Council, George Dunst.

But, those conversations took place this week, after I made the complaint.

Once again, Paul Esslinger lied to cover-up.

Mr. Richmond stated he heard of no call to an SEB staff member about the Oshkosh Mayor's race inquiring about this issue before my call this week.

Mr. Esslinger, it falls to you... Did you make this call you claim? When? To whom?

Or are you trying to deceive Oshkosh voters for just long enough until the election Tuesday?


How to Spot a Fake - Monte/Esslinger Edition (it's not the crime, it's the coverup...)

As I have pointed out in previous posts, Kent Monte sometimes has a problem with the truth, and likes to change history on his blog. He has been known to post, then change the post without attributing the update, and then delete all together to hide his mistakes and lies.

Well, today he seems to be working with Paul Esslinger to attempt to provide cover for Paul Esslinger using of city resources for campaigning. Because Monte cannot be trusted to keep the posts on his blog as he originally put them up, I have saved the screen captures below:

How to spot a lie on Blogger:

After I filed my complaint, Esslinger had the banner link changed to Kent Monte's website and a post copying the City's website bio. Here is a screenshot (you might have to click on it to see the bigger version to read):

Esslinger/Monte want you to believe that this post has resided on Monte's blogsite since Jan 1, 2007, the obvious date of the post (second circle). However, Blogger has a standard for publishing posts. They put the year and month it was created in the URL (first circle). It is plain to see that even though Esslinger/Monte want the readers to believe that this post was put up on Jan 1, 07 it was actually published in March of 2007.

In fact, it even gets sillier.....

This blog didn't even exist in Jan 2007. As Monte admits below, the blog was created and the first post made on Feb 21, 2007. In this post (pictured below), you can see that the date of Feb 21, 2007 is plainly heading the post (2nd circle), that the year/month of the post is plain in the URL (first circle) and Monte writes that this is, in fact, the first time he is posting to this site (3rd circle).

Esslinger and Monte are trying to cover up using taxpayer resources with a lie to all of Oshkosh. Monte's posts on this are here and here, but I don't expect them to stay there very long. If the links disappear, that means the cover-up is continuing...

I think it is time to expect more out of our City Councilors - and much, much more out of a Mayor.

Oshkosh Mayoral Candidate Paul Esslinger is using city resources for campaign purposes

Below is the text of a complaint that I filed with the Winnebago County District Attorney's Office regarding Oshkosh Mayoral Candidate Paul Esslinger's use of city resources for campaign purposes:

Complaint - Oshkosh Mayoral Candidate Paul Esslinger is using city resources for campaign purposes.

1. Oshkosh Mayoral Candidate Paul Esslinger has purchased banner advertising on the Oshkosh Northwestern homepage (http://www.thenorthwestern.com/apps/pbcs.dll/frontpage).

2. The link provided when clicking on the banner advertisement sends the user to Paul Esslinger's biography on the City of Oshkosh website (http://www.ci.oshkosh.wi.us/Esslinger.htm).

Note: This does not happen when you click on the 'badge' advertisement (smaller square adds within the content of stories) for Mr. Esslinger, only on the 'banner' advertising (long thin banners on the homepage).

3. I spoke with an advertising sales person at the Northwestern, it was indicated to me that the candidates who purchase advertising chose where the links direct users. This person also indicated that they guarantee the purchaser of the advertising 25,000 impressions in the week that it is displayed.

4. I spoke with an election specialist at the Wisconsin State Elections Board who indicated that (while there is currently no precedent for internet links) this could fall under the prohibition of using city newsletters and business cards in electioneering. In such a case, it would become a violation when there were 50 or more instances of use. Looking at the guaranteed 25,000 impressions, a 'click rate' of 0.2% would result in a violation.

5. By using the city resources as a web presence, Mr. Esslinger is using taxpayer and government resources to save his campaign the expense of website hosting and construction. He is using these city resources as a contact point for campaign activities as his contact information is listed in the biography. This is an advantage that his competitor does not have. His competitor is required to expend campaign resources for this purpose.

6. Mr. Esslinger gains a false sense of credibility by using the city website for this biography. If he were using a true campaign website requiring disclosure that the copy was provided by the campaign, the reader would know this was a campaign biography they were reading. The city does not indicate who provided the copy. His competitor for the office does not have this opportunity.

Conclusion: Mr. Esslinger's use of the City website to provide a campaign biography and contact information is a violation of campaign rules. It also provides an unfair advantage and campaign funds saving that is not provided to his competitor at taxpayer/city expense.


Another Step To Irish Peace

Here is the story.

Good news about the power-sharing agreement. But the public statements from the Democratic Unionist leader contrasts heavily the Republicans:

"We've all come a very long way in the process of peace making and national reconciliation,” said Adams, the republican leader of Sinn Fein. “We are very conscious of the many people who have suffered. We owe it to them to build the best future possible.” Paisley, the Democratic Unionist preacher-leader known as “Dr. No” for his stubbornness, seemed to agree: “We must not allow our justified loathing for the horrors and tragedies of the past to become a barrier to creating a better and more stable future for our children.”

Let's hope this ends with a positive result, finally.

The Hold Steady - Stuck Between Stations

No politics, just a song that you need to hear.


Ziegler Hall of Shame Part 2 - Republicans

As I originally outlined in this post, any elected official or community leader that has endorsed Ziegler for Judge should be contacted and questioned about this decision.

When these DA's & Sheriffs run for re-election, remember that they stood behind someone that flaunted the rules of Wisconsin's Courts. Now is the chance for them to do the right thing.

In the interest of being fair and balanced, here are the Republicans:

Brown - Dennis Kocken
Burnett - Dean Roland
Calumet - Gerald Pagel
Clark - Louis Rosandich
Dodge - Todd Nehls
Door - Terry Vogel
Eau Claire - Ron Cramer
Florence - Jeff Rickaby
Grant - Keith Govier
Green - Randy Roderick
Green Lake - Mark Podoll
Iowa - Steven Michek
Jefferson - Paul Milbrath
Juneau - Brent Oleson
Kenosha - David Beth
La Crosse - Steven Helgeson
LaFayette - Scott Pedley
Lincoln - Jeffrey Jaeger
Marinette - Jim Kanikula
Marquette - Kim Gaffney
Outagamie - Brad Gehring
Ozaukee - Maury Straub
Sauk - Randy Stammen
Sawyer - James Meier
Shawano - Randy Wright
St. Croix - Dennis Hillstead
Vernon - Gene Cary
Walworth - Dave Graves
Washburn - Terry Dryden
Washington - Dale Schmidt
Waukesha - Daniel Trawicki
Waupaca - Brad Hardel

Ashland - Sean Duffy
Brown - John Zakowski
Calumet - Ken Kratz
Dodge - Steve Bauer
Door - Ray Pelrine
Dunn - James Peterson
Eau Claire - Richard White
Florence - Doug Drexler
Fond du Lac - Thomas Storm
Forest - Leon Stenz
Grant - Lisa Riniker
Green - Gary Luhman
Jefferson - David Wambach
Juneau - Scott Southworth
La Crosse - Scott Horne
Marquette - Richard Dufour
Monroe - Dan Cary
Oconto - Jay Conley
Outagamie - Carrie Schneider
Ozaukee - Sandy Williams
Racine - Michael Nieskes
Sauk - Patricia A. Barrett
St. Croix - Eric Johnson
Taylor - Karl Kelz
Vernon - Tim Gaskell
Vilas - Al Moustakis
Washburn - Mike Bitney
Washington - Todd Martens
Waukesha - Brad Schimel
Waushara - Scott Blader
Winnebago - Christian Gossett
Wood - Todd Wolf

Ziegler Corruption Timeline

Click here for the full time-line as well as the changing excuses (lies) from both Ziegler and Mark Graul.

Jan. 31: The liberal One Wisconsin Now Action group reports that as a Washington County Circuit Court judge, Ziegler was handling a case involving Wal-Mart, in which she owns up to $100,000 in stock.
Feb. 9: Ziegler withdraws from the Wal-Mart case, citing "an appearance of impropriety."
Feb. 15: Jay Bullock reports on his blog, "folkbum's rambles and rants," that Ziegler has presided over cases involving West Bend Savings Bank, where her husband, J.J. Ziegler, is a director
March 1: Ziegler campaign manager Mark Graul tells the Wisconsin State Journal that Ziegler's practice was to notify the parties of conflicts of interest and get their permission to continue overseeing the West Bend Savings cases
March 4: The State Journal reports that contrary to the state Judicial Code of Conduct and Graul's statement, Ziegler did not withdraw from at least four West Bend Savings cases nor notify the parties of her conflict. Ziegler responded that most of the cases were uncontested and some never reached her desk but were handled by a clerk
March 5: Ziegler tells an audience in Spring Green that she uses a "gut check" to determine whether she has a conflict of interest. She said "any judge ruling on those would've ruled the exact same way" and that neither she nor her husband got "one single penny or one single advantage for any decision in any of those cases."
March 6: The State Journal reports that in 46 West Bend Savings cases, Ziegler neither withdrew nor notified the parties of her conflict. The newspaper also reports that Ziegler presided over at least five cases involving United Heathcare, a
company in which she owns at least $50,000 in stock.
March 11: The State Journal reports that Ziegler has presided over 22 cases involving companies in which she owns $50,000 or more in stock without withdrawing or notifying the parties of her potential conflict. The newspaper also reports that in a 2000 opinion, the Judicial Conduct Advisory Committee advised that recusal would be required when a judge owns $20,000 in stock.

Some Figures From Paul Krugman

Why Dems are on the rise while Repubs continue to fall:

Consider, for example, the question of whether the government should provide fewer services in order to cut spending, or provide more services even if this requires higher spending. According to the American National Election Studies, in 1994, the year the Republicans began their 12-year control of Congress, those who favored smaller government had the edge, by 36 to 27. By 2004, however, those in favor of bigger government had a 43-to-20 lead.

And public opinion seems to have taken a particularly strong turn in favor of universal health care. Gallup reports that 69 percent of the public believes that “it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure all Americans have health care coverage,” up from 59 percent in 2000.

The main force driving this shift to the left is probably rising income inequality. According to Pew, there has recently been a sharp increase in the percentage of Americans who agree with the statement that “the rich get richer while the poor get poorer.” Interestingly, the big increase in disgruntlement over rising inequality has come among the relatively well off — those making more than $75,000 a year.

Read the rest here (sub required).

Big Day for Birthdays, Today in History

I love the NYTimes 'On This Day' feature - here are some highlights for today:


77 - Sandra Day O'Connor - Former Supreme Court justice
76 - Leonard Nimoy - Actor (''Star Trek'')
73 - Alan Arkin - Actro
67 - James Caan - Actor
67 - Nancy Pelosi - Speaker of the US House of Representatives
64 - Bob Woodward - Journalist
63 - Diana Ross - Singer
59 - Steven TylerRock singer (Aerosmith)
54 - Elaine Chao - Secretary of Labor
54 - Lincoln Chafee - Former U.S. senator, R-R.I.
47 - Marcus Allen - Football Hall of Famer
47 - Jennifer Grey - Actress ("Dirty Dancing")
45 - John Stockton - Basketball player
41 - Michael Imperioli - Actor ("The Sopranos")
22 - Keira Knightley - Actress

89 - Robert Frost - 3/26/1874 - 1/29/1963 - American poet
71 - Tennessee Williams - 3/26/1911 - 2/25/1983 - American dramatist and author