Monday, February 23, 2009

Koschnick steals endorsements

I normally don't spend too much time bothering noting the endorsements in a political campaign, but I had to laugh at these:

The Koschnick for Justice Campaign today announced the endorsement of four new law enforcement leaders who had previously endorsed Judge Randy Koschnick's opponent, Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

Having been given an opportunity to review the records of both candidates, Shawano County District Attorney Greg Parker, Forest County District Attorney Charles Simono, Dunn County District Attorney James Peterson, and Forest County Sheriff Keith Van Cleve expressed their belief that Judge Koschnick was the clear choice for the Supreme Court in this spring's race.

"Law enforcement should have confidence that they are going to get a fair hearing, and not have their hands tied unnecessarily by the Supreme Court," said Koschnick for Justice Campaign Adviser Seamus Flaherty. "Justice Abrahamson's decisions have made law enforcement's job more difficult, and there is a growing consensus that thirty-two years of voting to expand the rights of criminal defendants is long enough. It's time for a Justice who will exercise fairness to all, and apply our constitutions as written."

Sheriff Van Cleve, and District Attorneys Parker, Simono, and Peterson join a growing group of sheriffs, prosecutors, and police chiefs from across Wisconsin who believe that Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Randy Koschnick will bring needed change to the State's High Court.

Leland: These men who were with the Chronicle. Weren't they just as devoted to the Chronicle politics as they are now to our policies?

Bernstein: Sure, they're just like anybody else. They got work to do, they do it! Only they happen to be the best men in the business!

In the meantime, the WJCIC has risen from the dead like a bad Jason movie. Judge Koschnick responds appropriately:

Dear Mr. Basting:

I received your letter of February 3, 2009 inviting me to sign a Campaign Advertising Pledge. Running an ethical campaign worthy of the people of Wisconsin has been a primary concern of mine from the time I announced my candidacy in November. That is why I signed a clean campaign pledge at that time promising to focus my campaign on our respective records and philosophies, to substantiate my claims, and to avoid personal attacks. My pledge also included promises to refuse and return donations from parties appearing before me, to repudiate the false accusations of third party groups, and to engage in no less than six public debates.

I invited my opponent to join me in signing the pledge, but she declined saying that what a candidate does is more important than what a candidate says. My opponent also called the pledge an “empty political gimmick.”

That was unfortunate because I believe that the Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Presiding Judge of the Jefferson County Circuit Court should be able to come to an agreement themselves, as two professional adults, regarding how best to run a clean campaign. I too believe that what candidates do is important, and while there is a lot of talk about reducing involvement by third parties, my opponent apparently decided it was necessary for a third party to set the standards by which we should govern ourselves.

I don’t believe that pledges are “gimmicks” and mine was not offered as one. It is not a “gimmick” to guarantee that the public gets to see the candidates discuss their records and philosophies in person as much as possible instead of relying on the distortions of third party television ads. It is not a “gimmick” to protect public confidence in the judiciary by returning donations from parties with cases pending before us. In fact, United States District Court Judge Barbara Crabb’s February 17, 2009 opinion on the constitutionality of certain judicial rules took for granted that the behaviors she was allowing were not as bad as “judges’ deciding cases involving those to whom the judge is financially indebted and may be again at the next election cycle.” Yet your pledge guarantees none of these protections that would do so much to heighten public confidence in the judiciary, and the process by which its members are elected.

I would encourage you to reexamine the proposed pledge to include a series of public debates, perhaps one of which could be sponsored by your group. I also believe any pledge would need to contain a prohibition on receiving donations from parties with cases pending before our respective courts. I would certainly consider signing a pledge that contains those provisions as they are critical to the goals you seek to achieve. In the meantime, I will continue to abide by the promises I made to the people of Wisconsin in November.

Thank you for your interest in the race.