Iron County Progressive

 

Rolling Stone

EXCLUSIVE: Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff

Sun, October 24, 2021, 7:33 PM·15 min read

 

Credit: Nate Gowdy for Rolling Stone

 

As the House investigation into the Jan. 6 attack heats up, some of the planners of the pro-Trump rallies that took place in Washington, D.C., have begun communicating with congressional investigators and sharing new information about what happened when the former president’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Two of these people have spoken to Rolling Stone extensively in recent weeks and detailed explosive allegations that multiple members of Congress were intimately involved in planning both Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent.

Rolling Stone separately confirmed a third person involved in the main Jan. 6 rally in D.C. has communicated with the committee. This is the first report that the committee is hearing major new allegations from potential cooperating witnesses. While there have been prior indications that members of Congress were involved, this is also the first account detailing their purported role and its scope. The two sources also claim they interacted with members of Trump’s team, including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who they describe as having had an opportunity to prevent the violence.

The two sources, both of whom have been granted anonymity due to the ongoing investigation, describe participating in “dozens” of planning briefings ahead of that day when Trump supporters broke into the Capitol as his election loss to President Joe Biden was being certified.

“I remember Marjorie Taylor Greene specifically,” the organizer says. “I remember talking to probably close to a dozen other members at one point or another or their staffs.”

For the sake of clarity, we will refer to one of the sources as a rally organizer and the other as a planner. Rolling Stone has confirmed that both sources were involved in organizing the main event aimed at objecting to the electoral certification, which took place at the White House Ellipse on Jan. 6. Trump spoke at that rally and encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol. Some members of the audience at the Ellipse began walking the mile and a half to the Capitol as Trump gave his speech. The barricades were stormed minutes before the former president concluded his remarks.

These two sources also helped plan a series of demonstrations that took place in multiple states around the country in the weeks between the election and the storming of the Capitol. According to these sources, multiple people associated with the March for Trump and Stop the Steal events that took place during this period communicated with members of Congress throughout this process.

Along with Greene, the conspiratorial pro-Trump Republican from Georgia who took office earlier this year, the pair both say the members who participated in these conversations or had top staffers join in included Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).

“We would talk to Boebert’s team, Cawthorn’s team, Gosar’s team like back to back to back to back,” says the organizer.

 

And Gosar, who has been one of the most prominent defenders of the Jan. 6 rioters, allegedly took things a step further. Both sources say he dangled the possibility of a “blanket pardon” in an unrelated ongoing investigation to encourage them to plan the protests.

“Our impression was that it was a done deal,” the organizer says, “that he’d spoken to the president about it in the Oval … in a meeting about pardons and that our names came up. They were working on submitting the paperwork and getting members of the House Freedom Caucus to sign on as a show of support.”

The organizer claims the pair received “several assurances” about the “blanket pardon” from Gosar.

“I was just going over the list of pardons and we just wanted to tell you guys how much we appreciate all the hard work you’ve been doing,” Gosar said, according to the organizer.

The rally planner describes the pardon as being offered while “encouraging” the staging of protests against the election. While the organizer says they did not get involved in planning the rallies solely due to the pardon, they were upset that it ultimately did not materialize.

“I would have done it either way with or without the pardon,” the organizer says. “I do truly believe in this country, but to use something like that and put that out on the table when someone is so desperate, it’s really not good business.”

Gosar’s office did not respond to requests for comment on this story. Rolling Stone has separately obtained documentary evidence that both sources were in contact with Gosar and Boebert on Jan. 6. We are not describing the nature of that evidence to preserve their anonymity. The House select committee investigating the attack also has interest in Gosar’s office. Gosar’s chief of staff, Thomas Van Flein, was among the people who were named in the committee’s “sweeping” requests to executive-branch agencies seeking documents and communications from within the Trump administration. Both sources claim Van Flein was personally involved in the conversations about the “blanket pardon” and other discussions about pro-Trump efforts to dispute the election. Van Flein did not respond to a request for comment.

These specific members of Congress were involved in the pro-Trump activism around the election and the electoral certification on Jan. 6. Both Brooks and Cawthorn spoke with Trump at the Ellipse on Jan. 6. In his speech at that event, Brooks, who was reportedly wearing body armor, declared, “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.” Gosar, Greene, and Boebert were all billed as speakers at the “Wild Protest,” which also took place on Jan. 6 at the Capitol.

Nick Dyer, who is Greene’s communications director, said she was solely involved in planning to object to the electoral certification on the House floor. Spokespeople for the other members of Congress, who the sources describe as involved in the planning for protests, did not respond to requests for comment.

“Congresswoman Greene and her staff were focused on the Congressional election objection on the House floor and had nothing to do with planning of any protest,” Dyer wrote in an email to Rolling Stone.

Dyer further compared Greene’s efforts to dispute certification of Biden’s victory with similar objections certain Democrats lodged against Trump’s first election.

“She objected just like Democrats who have objected to Republican presidential victories over the years,” wrote Dyer“Just like in 2017, when Jim McGovern, Jamie Raskin, Pramila Jayapal, Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson Lee, Raul Grijalva, and Maxine Waters tried to prevent President Trump’s election win from being certified.”

Dyer also suggested the public is far more concerned with issues occurring under President Joe Biden than they are with what happened in January.

“No one cares about Jan. 6 when gas prices are skyrocketing, grocery store shelves are empty, unemployment is skyrocketing, businesses are going bankrupt, our border is being invaded, children are forced to wear masks, vaccine mandates are getting workers fired, and 13 members of our military are murdered by the Taliban and Americans are left stranded in Afghanistan,” Dyer wrote.

In another indication members of Congress may have been involved in planning the protests against the election, Ali Alexander, who helped organize the “Wild Protest,” declared in a since-deleted livestream broadcast that Gosar, Brooks, and Biggs helped him formulate the strategy for that event.

“I was the person who came up with the Jan. 6 idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks, and Congressman Andy Biggs,” Alexander said at the time. “We four schemed up on putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting so that — who we couldn’t lobby — we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud roar from outside.”

Alexander led Stop the Steal, which was one of the main groups promoting efforts to dispute Trump’s loss. In December, he organized a Stop the Steal event in Phoenix, where Gosar was one the main speakers. At that demonstration, Alexander referred to Gosar as “my captain” and declared “one of the other heroes has been Congressman Andy Biggs.”

Alexander did not respond to requests for comment. The rally planner, who accused Alexander of ratcheting up the potential for violence that day while taking advantage of funds from donors and others who helped finance the events, confirmed that he was in contact with those three members of Congress.

“He just couldn’t help himself but go on his live and just talk about everything that he did and who he talked to,” the planner says of Alexander. “So, he, like, really told on himself.”

While it was already clear members of Congress played some role in the Jan. 6 events and similar rallies that occurred in the lead-up to that day, the two sources say they can provide new details about the members’ specific roles in these efforts. The sources plan to share that information with congressional investigators right away. While both sources say their communications with the House’s Jan. 6 committee thus far have been informal, they are expecting to testify publicly.

“I have no problem openly testifying,” the planner says.

A representative for the committee declined to comment. In the past month, the committee has issued subpoenas to top Trump allies, government agencies, and activists who were involved in the planning of events and rallies that took place on that day and in the prior weeks. Multiple sources familiar with the committee’s investigation have confirmed to Rolling Stone that, thus far, it seems to be heavily focused on the financing for the Ellipse rally and similar previous events.

Both of the sources made clear that they still believe in Trump’s agenda. They also have questions about how his election loss occurred. The two sources say they do not necessarily believe there were issues with the actual vote count. However, they are concerned that Democrats gained an unfair advantage in the race due to perceived social media censorship of Trump allies and the voting rules that were implemented as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Democrats used tactics to disrupt their political opposition in ways that frankly were completely unacceptable,” the organizer says.

Despite their remaining affinity for Trump and their questions about the vote, both sources say they were motivated to come forward because of their concerns about how the pro-Trump protests against the election ultimately resulted in the violent attack on the Capitol. Of course, with their other legal issues and the House investigation, both of these sources have clear motivation to cooperate with investigators and turn on their former allies. And both of their accounts paint them in a decidedly favorable light compared with their former allies.

“The reason I’m talking to the committee and the reason it’s so important is that — despite Republicans refusing to participate … this commission’s all we got as far as being able to uncover the truth about what happened at the Capitol that day,” the organizer says. “It’s clear that a lot of bad actors set out to cause chaos. … They made us all look like shit.”

And Trump, they admit, was one of those bad actors. A representative for Trump did not respond to a request for comment.

“The breaking point for me [on Jan. 6 was when] Trump starts talking about walking to the Capitol,” the organizer says. “I was like. ‘Let’s get the fuck out of here.’ ”

“I do kind of feel abandoned by Trump,” says the planner. “I’m actually pretty pissed about it and I’m pissed at him.”

The organizer offers an even more succinct assessment when asked what they would say to Trump.

“What the fuck?” the organizer says.

The two potential witnesses plan to present to the committee allegations about how these demonstrations were funded and to detail communications between organizers and the White House. According to both sources, members of Trump’s administration and former members of his campaign team were involved in the planning. Both describe Katrina Pierson, who worked for Trump’s campaign in 2016 and 2020, as a key liaison between the organizers of protests against the election and the White House.

“Katrina was like our go-to girl,” the organizer says. “She was like our primary advocate.”

Pierson spoke at the Ellipse rally on Jan. 6. She did not respond to requests for comment.

Both sources also describe Trump’s White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, as someone who played a major role in the conversations surrounding the protests on Jan. 6. Among other things, they both say concerns were raised to Meadows about Alexander’s protest at the Capitol and the potential that it could spark violence. Meadows was subpoenaed by the committee last month as part of a group of four people “with close ties to the former President who were working in or had communications with the White House on or in the days leading up to the January 6th insurrection.”

“Meadows was 100 percent made aware of what was going on,” says the organizer. “He’s also like a regular figure in these really tiny groups of national organizers.”

A separate third source, who has also communicated with the committee and was involved in the Ellipse rally, says Kylie Kremer, one of the key organizers at that event, boasted that she was going to meet with Meadows at the White House ahead of the rally. The committee has been provided with that information. Kremer did not respond to a request for comment.

Both the organizer and the planner say Alexander initially agreed he would not hold his “Wild Protest” at the Capitol and that the Ellipse would be the only major demonstration. When Alexander seemed to be ignoring that arrangement, both claim worries were brought to Meadows.

“Despite making a deal … they plowed forward with their own thing at the Capitol on Jan.y 6 anyway,” the organizer says of Alexander and his allies. “We ended up escalating that to everybody we could, including Meadows.”

A representative for Meadows did not respond to requests for comment.

Along with making plans for Jan. 6, the sources say, the members of Congress who were involved solicited supposed proof of election fraud from them. Challenging electoral certification requires the support of a member of the Senate. While more than a hundred Republican members of the House ultimately objected to the Electoral College count that formalized Trump’s loss, only a handful of senators backed the effort. According to the sources, the members of Congress and their staff advised them to hold rallies in specific states. The organizer says locations were chosen to put “pressure” on key senators that “we considered to be persuadable.”

“We had also been coordinating with some of our congressional contacts on, like, what would be presented after the individual objections, and our expectation was that that was the day the storm was going to arrive,” the organizer says, adding, “It was supposed to be the best evidence that they had been secretly gathering. … Everyone was going to stay at the Ellipse throughout the congressional thing.”

Heading into Jan. 6, both sources say, the plan they had discussed with other organizers, Trump allies, and members of Congress was a rally that would solely take place at the Ellipse, where speakers — including the former president — would present “evidence” about issues with the election. This demonstration would take place in conjunction with objections that were being made by Trump allies during the certification on the House floor that day.

“It was in a variety of calls, some with Gosar and Gosar’s team, some with Marjorie Taylor Greene and her team … Mo Brooks,” the organizer says.

“The Capitol was never in play,” insists the planner.

A senior staffer for a Republican member of Congress, who was also granted anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation, similarly says they believed the events would only involve supporting objections on the House floor. The staffer says their member was engaged in planning that was “specifically and fully above board.”

“A whole host of people let this go a totally different way,” the senior Republican staffer says. “They fucked it up for a lot of people who were planning to present evidence on the House floor. We were pissed off at everything that happened .”

The two sources claim there were early concerns about Alexander’s event. They had seen him with members of the paramilitary groups 1st Amendment Praetorian (1AP) and the Oath Keepers in his entourage at prior pro-Trump rallies. Alexander was filmed with a reputed member of 1AP at his side at a November Stop the Steal event that took place in Georgia. The two sources also claim to have been concerned about drawing people to the area directly adjacent to the Capitol on Jan. 6, given the anger among Trump supporters about the electoral certification that was underway that day.

“They knew that they weren’t there to sing “Kumbaya” and, like, put up a peace sign,” the planner says. “These frickin’ people were angry.”

 ICYMI: Up North News Wisconsin: Against It Before They Were For It: Some Wisconsin Politicians Are Busy Promoting American Rescue Plan Funds

“Wisconsin GOP lawmakers seem grateful for the aid that has helped hometown businesses and provided stimulus checks”

MADISON, Wis. — Yesterday, Up North News Wisconsin blasted the Wisconsin GOP for promoting the American Rescue Plan, despite the fact that the Republican Party voted against the critical federal relief. 

Republicans in Congress stood in unified partisan opposition to the American Rescue Plan, and Wisconsin Republicans in the state legislature went as far as attempting to slow down relief distribution across the state. Now, those same Republicans who all parroted criticisms of the bill — like failed candidate Derrick Van Orden, Representative ​​Glenn Grothman, and Representative Tom Tiffany — are all too eager to credit for the federal funds.

Read the full column below:

Up North News: Against It Before They Were For It: Some Wisconsin Politicians Are Busy Promoting American Rescue Plan Funds

“This is very good news for my district,” state Rep. Rob Summerfield (R-Bloomer) said this week about a new round of grants that will help telecommunications providers increase internet service across his western Wisconsin district.

As chair of the Assembly committee overseeing technology issues, Summerfield has had good reason to cheer the latest round of 83 grants awarded by the state Public Service Commission across 43 counties.

At the opposite end of the state, Rep. Samantha Kerkman (R-Salem Lakes) and Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) were equally effusive about grants benefiting Kenosha County. “Residents and business owners in these communities can now move forward knowing that reliable broadband internet is on the horizon,” Kerkman said.

What they and other Republicans aren’t saying as loudly is that the increased amount of money available for these state grants is actually federal funding provided by the American Rescue Plan Act, the major pandemic stimulus proposed by President Joe Biden which passed Congress in March without a single vote from Republicans, who claimed the plan was too costly.

US Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah) was one of those 212 votes against the Rescue Plan. Two weeks after it became law, Grothman’s Twitter account trumpeted the availability of direct cash relief for Wisconsin families struggling through the coronavirus outbreak. “The IRS has begun delivering the third round of stimulus checks,” he posted. “For information about the status of your check or questions about eligibility, visit the COVID19 page on my website.”

Weeks later, Grothman was tweeting about one of the provisions that has assisted small businesses across the state. “The Restaurant Revitalization Fund will provide relief to food and drink businesses in-need following COVID19 lockdowns and capacity limitations,” he posted in promoting the availability of applications for aid. 

Other Republican members of the state’s congressional delegation have been critical of the Rescue Plan even as it brought significant help to hometowns in their districts. 

Rep. Bryan Steil said of the plan in March, “The spending bill bails out reckless spending cities like Chicago and shortchanges hardworking hometowns like Janesville.” Earlier this month, the Janesville city council began allocating the nearly $12 million in aid. A staff memo outlined uses that could include replacing lead in the water infrastructure and developing affordable “working class” housing for families.

Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) hosted a roundtable on the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, bringing attention to the business benefit but also criticizing the additional aid to unemployed Wisconsin workers. Prior to passage, Tiffany wrote a letter to Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson asking them to vote against the Biden plan. 

Tiffany, Johnson, and the other Republicans voted against the American Rescue Plan’s numerous forms of relief brought to Wisconsin which include: 

  • Nearly $7 billion in direct stimulus aid to Wisconsin families in 2.7 million households.
  • Nearly $4 billion to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • $1.6 billion in relief to Wisconsin K-12 school districts.
  • 1.1 million children were impacted by an expanded child tax credit that included monthly payments from the IRS to qualifying families. Another 321,000 childless workers received up to $1,000 from the earned income tax credit.
  • Lower health insurance premiums in the Affordable Care Act marketplace for families who lost healthcare coverage because of pandemic-related layoffs.
  • $2.1 billion for Wisconsin municipalities that have used the aid for everything from backfilling strained budgets for local services and repairing water and sewer infrastructure to campaigns encouraging COVID vaccinations and reducing housing evictions. 
  • $2.7 billion for the state government aid that Gov. Tony Evers has distributed in areas that include small business grants, pandemic response efforts, and infrastructure funding such as the broadband internet projects Republican legislators are touting.

“Wisconsin families have had enough of Republicans’ obstructionism and hypocrisy,” said Democratic Party of Wisconsin chair Ben Wikler in a release about GOP legislators’ reaction to the Rescue Plan funds. “Make no mistake: every single Democrat in Congress voted for President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, and Governor Evers has implemented it—while every single Republican voted against it.”

 Shot/Chaser: Democrats Deliver Where Republican Obstruction Failed

Madison, Wis. — President Biden, Democrats in Congress, and Gov. Evers have continued to work hand-in-hand to build back better. Their partnership, which has resulted in billions in federal relief to Wisconsin, comes in sharp contrast to the failed Walker-Kleefisch administration, which rejected critical federal aid for partisan reasons.

Shot: Former GOP Gov. Scott Walker and Radical Rebecca Kleefisch refused to accept millions of federal funds for Wisconsinites, all because they didn’t believe bipartisanship would benefit them politically. Their partisan political games deeply hurt Wisconsinites, and set back progress in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin State Journal: Feds to take Wisconsin’s high-speed rail money, give it to other states

  • “The Obama administration is taking back the $810 million awarded to Wisconsin for train projects after Republican Gov.-elect Scott Walker made it clear he will not waver in his opposition to the project.”

Associated Press: GOP governors who turned down Medicaid money have hands out

  • “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker notably turned down more than $500 million for his state.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: State giving back stimulus funds intended for broadband expansion

Chaser: Thanks to a strong partnership with President Biden, Gov. Evers has highlighted the importance of working with federal partners to deliver for Wisconsin. He has secured billions of dollars and delivered for Wisconsin where Republicans had failed. 

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: ‘Help is on the way’: Wisconsin will issue $420 million in relief funds to small businesses, Gov. Evers says

  • “According to a news release, the funds provided by the American Rescue Plan Act can potentially benefit 84,000 small businesses that generate between $10,000 and $7 million in annual revenue.”

The Capital Times: Evers announces $50 million in assistance for Wisconsin farmers

  • “The funds will be administered through the latest round of the governor’s Wisconsin Farm Support Program, launched last year. In total, Evers has directed more than $100 million in federal funds to support Wisconsin’s agricultural producers, his office said.”

WKOW: Evers announces $10 million in American Rescue Plan funds for tourism industry

  • “As Wisconsin’s tourism industry looks to rebuild, Governor Tony Evers announced a fresh influx of funds Tuesday to help push revitalization.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin rural broadband getting $100 million boost from federal program

WPR: Evers allocating $45M in federal funds to violence prevention, crime victim programs

 ICYMI: Wisconsin Mayors Endorse Biden’s “Transformational” Build Back Better Agenda

Madison, Wis. — Yesterday, mayors from the cities of Racine, Madison, Wausau, and Sheboygan endorsed President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, citing how the Build Back Better Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will deliver millions of dollars in critical investments for their cities. 

Read about the mayors’ virtual roundtable below:

ABC Madison: Wisconsin mayors discuss how President Biden’s agenda could help local cities

  • The mayors of Madison, Wausau, Racine, and Sheboygan said federal investment in certain sectors could take the burden off local budgets.
  • Madison’s mayor, Satya Rhodes-Conway, says that after the devastating flooding that Madison experienced in 2018, the city embarked on a major project to upgrade the storm water system. 
  • Rhodes-Conway says they’re only halfway done, but the price tag is still more than the city can bear.

[…]

  • “Municipalities here in Wisconsin have very few options left to us from the legislature for funding the work that’s needed,” she said. “Without outside help, these projects are not going to get done.”

WPR: Mayors from 4 Wisconsin cities urge Congress to pass Biden social safety net plan, emphasizing child care

  • More affordable child care is part of what the Biden administration has dubbed the Build Back Better Plan, but the bill is opposed by all Republicans in the U.S. Senate, who take issue with the price tag and the social spending it includes. The plan would cap child care expenses based on family income, extend the Child Tax Credit and provide universal free pre-school. It’s just one of many elements in the bill, which also addresses infrastructure and climate change. 

[…]

  • In a virtual event Thursday, mayors from the cities of Racine, Madison, Wausau and Sheboygan pushed for federal lawmakers to come to an agreement on a plan they called “transformational” and what Racine Mayor Corey Mason described as “a once in a generation chance” to provide “real opportunities to get into the middle class and thrive.”

[…]

  • The mayors who spoke Thursday in support of more spending on climate change, infrastructure and child care disagree, saying the pandemic exposed areas in which those who are lower income experience more hardship because these issues affect them more.

[…]

  • “Thinking about child care alone, in Marathon County, we lost 55 percent of our child care providers during the last recession. That was 10 years ago,” said Wausau Mayor Katie Rosenberg.

  


Weekly News From Your Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair 

.Dear fellow Wisconsin Democrats,

 The Freedom to Vote Act—a tremendous and urgently-needed bill—went up for a vote in the Senate this week. Every Democrat supported it. But Republicans, including Ron Johnson, filibustered it. Until and unless filibuster rules are changed, the bill’s progress has halted. Meanwhile, even though Wisconsin’s Legislative Reference Bureau completed its report and found, once again, that 2020’s election was “safe and secure,” the GOP’s sham investigations—which in fact are naked attempts to justify voting restrictions—continue.  

So what now? We go local.  

Voter protection—the process of working with individual voters and election administrators to ensure that everyone has the full opportunity to exercise their freedom to vote—used to be a “final stretch of the election” type priority. Today, it’s a year-round fight. We’ve got volunteers phone banking to recruit poll workers. We’ve got staff and volunteers overseeing our year-round voter protection hotline (608-DEM-3232.) We’ve got a whole team on our staff focused on ensuring that voters have the help they need to overcome roadblocks put in their path by Republicans.  

And the Democratic Party of Wisconsin isn’t alone—an array of independent organizations are fighting day in and day out to protect the rights of voters and the future of our democracy.  

We can and will continue to advocate for legislation like the Freedom to Vote Act. And we can and will duke it out for voting rights in the courts. But through it all, we’re going to organize, organize, and organize—and then organize some more. 

For the GOP, attacking democracy is both a strategy for winning power, and a goal once power is won. For us, saving democracy is both key to victory and why victories are worth winning. The battle lines are clear, and the stakes are high.  

This is why the work that all of us do is so essential. And it’s a great reason to be proud to be a Democrat.  

No matter where you live or the color of your skin, your right to vote is sacred. That’s a uniting principle for Democrats, and it should be the bedrock of our nation’s system of governance. We won’t stop working until that vision is realized—and American government serves us all, not just the few.  

In solidarity,

Ben 

FIGHT 

Ron Johnson Votes Against Protecting Wisconsinites' Voting Rights

On Wednesday, Ron Johnson voted against the Freedom to Vote Act, which would protect Wisconsinites’ voting rights and prevent dark money interests from dumping unlimited and unaccountable donations into elections. 

By protecting the dark money influence in our elections, Ron Johnson is once again serving only himself and special-interest allies at the expense of regular Wisconsinites. No amount of dark money will be able to hide that Johnson has completely failed his duties as a United States Senator. 

The legislation includes the DISCLOSE Act, the Honest Ads Act, and the Spotlight Act, which would prevent wealthy donors, foreign actors, and certain organizations from operating in the shadows and would shine a light on who is actually financing elections. 

Johnson also voted against removing barriers to vote by making election day a federal holiday, automatically registering voters at the DMV, allowing for online voter registration, guaranteeing same day voter registration, and mandating a minimum of a 15 day early voting period.The Freedom to Vote Act would enshrine Wisconsinites' right to vote, better equip poll workers, prohibit states from banning voters from receiving food or drinks while waiting to cast their ballot, as well as help prevent harassment or intimidation at the polls.

Governor Evers Dedicates $45M To Violence Prevention and Victim Support

This past week, Governor Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul announced their allocation of $45 million for violence prevention and support for crime victims. The funding, expected to hit Wisconsin communities in the upcoming weeks, comes from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act. 

Milwaukee, which has seen a historic uptick in violence, will be directly receiving $8 million to the city’s Office of Violence Prevention, aiming to stop violence before it starts through public health. Gov. Evers and A.G. Kaul will be allocating $25 million to violence prevention, $20 million to victim support services, with $6.6 million of the violence prevention funds going towards the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Violence Prevention Project.  

Governor Evers: Much like the pandemic, this is another public health crisis that deserves our attention and our action. And much like any public health issue, it starts with prevention. Violence and its impact on kids, families and communities is not inevitable. We have to focus on the root causes and invest in interventions and community-based solutions, and we have to make sure the trusted folks and organizations who are already doing this work are tat the center of this process. 

Reggie Moore, Director of Violence Prevention Policy and Engagement for the Comprehensive Injury Center: The American Rescue Plan has provided an unprecedented opportunity for local and state leaders to invest in comprehensive approaches to violence prevention that are rooted in public health and smart on public safety. I am pleased to see state leaders and city leaders prioritizing investment in addressing this very serious public health crisis.”   

Ron Johnson Blocks Nomination Of U.S. Attorney To Prosecute January 6th Insurrectionists

In more Ron Johnson news, Business Insider reports that Johnson is the sole senator blocking the nomination of the Matthew Graves, the U.S. attorney who is nominated to prosecute the insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol on January 6th.  

Johnson continues to downplay the attack, describing it as a “peaceful attack” and claiming he never felt concerned or threatened. In a radio interview, he said that if a Black Lives Matter group had stormed the Capitol instead of the Trump supporters, he would have felt more threatened.  

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Grave’s nomination in late September as part of a slate of US attorney picks. Of the seven nominees voted out of committee without objection, Graves is the only one who has yet to win confirmation

Up North News Exposes Wisconsin Republicans Claiming Credit For Relief They Voted Against 

Wisconsin is building back better thanks to Governor Evers quickly distributing American Rescue Plan funds for broadband expansion, small business relief, the tourism industry, and rural health services. This critical pandemic relief was passed by President Biden and Democrats in Congress - and was unanimously opposed by GOP lawmakers. Despite voting against the federal relief and attempting to slow down relief distribution in the state legislature, ARP passed and now Wisconsin Republicans eagerly are taking credit for the funds.  

Republicans such as failed Congressional candidate Derrick Van Orden and Representative Tom Tiffany had originally had strong words about the ARPA bill, calling it a “disaster”, “wasteful”, “a trainwreck”, and even as a “bribery bill”.  

In spite of their opposition, both Republicans hosted a round table touting the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund was able to provide much needed relief funds to businesses that were impacted most by the pandemic. Said relief was funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, the very bill both Republicans voted against. 

This pattern of hypocrisy is not just a one off. Other Wisconsin Republicans, such as Representatives Glenn Grothmann, Samantha Kerkman, and Senator Van Wanggaard all have highlighted how crucial grants to their County have been. These grants, of course, were provided from the ARPA.  

Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler: Wisconsin families have had enough of Republicans’ obstructionism and hypocrisy. Make no mistake: every single Democrat in Congress voted for President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, and Governor Evers has implemented it -- while every single Republican voted against it. Come 2022, Wisconsinites will hold Republicans accountable at the ballot box.

Attorney General Kaul Fights Back Against GOP’s Sham Election “Investigation” 

As the GOP continues their 2020 election ‘investigation’, Attorney General John Kaul continues to fight back on the improper procedures. On Thursday, A.G. Kaul filed a motion with a Dane County judge to block the subpoenas Michael Gabelman issued and declare them unenforceable.  

A.G. Kaul argued that the subpoenas are unenforceable as Gableman wants to interview Wisconsin Elections Commission administration Meagan Wolfe in private, rather than publicly in front of a legislative committee.  

Kaul also points out that the subpoenas should be thrown out since they were issued in the name of the Assembly Elections Committee; the chairwoman of said committee, Janel Brandtjen, said that Gableman has not consulted with her on this review of the election. Kaul also brings up the fact that the subpoenas are too vague and broad to be properly enforced.  

A judge set a Monday hearing on the motion. Meanwhile, Gableman continues to push back the expected length of said “investigation”, while using taxpayer dollars the funding.







 Wisconsin Parents Build Back Better Thanks to Child Tax Credit, No Thanks to WI Republicans 

MADISON, Wis. — Today, thanks to President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, parents across Wisconsin are seeing another round of payments from the expanded Child Tax Credit. These payments were funded by the American Rescue Plan, which provided additional relief of up to $1,600 per child to the families of nearly 1.2 million children in Wisconsin. The expanded payments are also expected to lift 46,000 Wisconsin children out of poverty. This expanded middle-class tax cut echoes Gov. Evers’ commitment to cutting taxes for families across the state — earlier this year he signed a $450 million small business tax cut and provided more than $2 billion in individual income tax relief for middle-class Wisconsinites. Since taking office, Gov. Evers has cut middle-class taxes by a cumulative 15 percent.

“This expanded middle-class tax cut is President Biden delivering on his promise to build back better,” said Democratic Party of Wisconsin interim Executive Director Devin Remiker. “Whether parents are using these payments to put food on the table or pay for child care, we know that all families are better off thanks to President Biden and Democrats in Congress. Republicans, who stood in unified opposition to the American Rescue Plan, should be ashamed for taking a partisan stance in the fight against child poverty.”

Here’s what parents across the state are saying about President Biden’s middle-class tax cut:

UpNorthNews: GOP States Are Getting a Big Chunk of Biden’s Popular Child Tax Credit — Wisconsin Also Above Average

  • “As a new round of monthly child tax credit payments goes to around 35 million American families, a Reuters analysis found Wisconsin is among the states where households are receiving higher-than-average benefits from the expanded credit which was also converted into monthly checks by President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan. A Reuters/Ipsos poll also found the expanded credit and payments enjoy broad public support.”

WisBusiness: Main Street Alliance: Wisconsin small biz supports enhanced child tax credit

  • “Corrine Hendrickson, owner of Corrine’s Little Explorers in New Glarus, shared how the enhanced child tax credit is helping: ‘As a parent the expanded child care tax credit has helped me keep my growing teenage boys clothed, fed, and sheltered. My friends with younger children have commented that it is helping offset child care costs allowing them to keep working since they now aren’t using their entire paycheck.’” 

 

  • “Macy Buhler, owner of Yahara River Learning Center in DeForest also comments: ‘It is helping parents afford extra costs related to the pandemic…it has been a lifeline.’”

PBS Wisconsin: What an Expanded Child Tax Credit Means for Two Madison Mothers

  • “Despite the financial pressures these work struggles placed on her family, she considered herself ‘blessed’ for still having a job when so many others lost theirs. But for Campbell, even a couple extra hundred dollars every month would have made a big difference.”

 

  • “‘It would be amazing,’ she said. ‘Bills would be on time, I wouldn’t have to figure out, am I going to pay for the kids to be able to go to school with the internet? Or should I worry about the food?’”

 FACT SHEET: Biden Administration’s NEW Plan to Combat PFAS

MADISON, Wis. — Today, the Biden-Harris administration outlined an accelerated nationwide plan to combat per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which have been a persistent issue facing Wisconsin communities. While Wisconsin’s Republican-led legislature rejected statewide funding proposals designed to target the toxic chemicals, ridding Wisconsin’s waters of PFAS has been a priority of President Biden, Gov. Evers, and Wisconsin Democrats.

President Biden and EPA Administrator Michael Regan’s partnership with Gov. Evers will address the systemic water-waste challenges that plague Wisconsin. The EPA’s newest program, titled PFAS Roadmap, outlines three concrete steps that the federal government will take to eradicate PFAS including — holding polluters accountable, ensuring science-based decision-making, and addressing the impacts on disadvantaged communities.

“Every single Wisconsinite should have access to clean drinking water. Today’s announcement is just another example of President Biden and Democrats delivering for Wisconsin’s families where Wisconsin Republicans have refused to take action,” said Democratic Party of Wisconsin Interim Executive Director Devin Remiker. “Despite PFAS posing significant risks to the health of our state, Republicans in our state legislature put politics over people and tried to flush away clean-water funding from Gov. Evers’ state budget. Thankfully, we elected President Biden, who understands that the safety of Wisconsin’s residents must be our number one priority. By addressing these legacy chemicals, President Biden is cementing his legacy as a pro-Wisconsin president.” 

 The PFAS Roadmap will work to:

  • Create a new national testing strategy, while continuing to update and expand previous assessments, focusing on toxicity and environmental detection;
  • Develop and deploy analytical methods to prevent and address contamination of PFAS in meat and poultry;
  • Conduct the first-ever inventory of PFAS use and releases from federal facilities;
  • Identify and quantify the risks of PFAS to first responders; 
  • Review the rapidly evolving science on human health and PFAS; and
  • Form the new Interagency Policy Committee on PFAS to help coordinate new policy strategies, remediation, and removal of PFAS in communities across the country.

Paired with the Build Back Better Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, the Biden administration will invest in clean-water infrastructure, including providing bottled water to Wisconsin’s most impacted communities — like Peshtigo, Marinette, Madison, Rhinelander, and the Town of Campbell — as well as providing local municipalities the resources needed to remove the chemicals from their utility service systems. 


  



Weekly News From Your Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair 

Dear fellow Wisconsin Democrats,  

Let’s not kid ourselves: 2022 is going to be tough. 

At one level, it shouldn’t be a hard year for Democrats. Our governor is doing a terrific job, and people fundamentally like and trust him. Ditto for our president. Democrats are delivering, and we’re in the final stages of negotiation on the Build Back Better plan to deliver yet more. And Republicans are in total disarray, endlessly relitigating the their 2020 loss and trying to scaremonger with divisive attacks on COVID protections and honesty in education. Republicans are offering no vision for the future, and Democrats are walking the walk on what they ran on. What’s more, our party is in stronger shape than ever before in an off year. Those elements should all be a recipe for success. 

But. 

The single most stark lesson of American political history over the last century is that midterm elections spell trouble for the president’s party.  

In almost every midterm election, the party that just won the presidency has taken it on the chin. Twelve out of the last fourteen new presidents have seen their parties lose ground two years after reaching the White House. The only exceptions in recent memory were 1934, in the depths of the Depression, and 2002, after 9/11. There are several theories for why this is, but the leading one is simple: whoever lost the presidency has the urgent sense that the things they care about are endangered. But the party that wins the presidency becomes more complacent.  

It’s easy to understand the emotional logic of this by thinking about the 2018 election cycle, when we watched Trump threaten the foundations of our democracy. We absolutely had to turn out and put a check on his power.  

Now look at polls of Republicans: in huge numbers, they now falsely think that the last election was stolen. They believe that the Republic is in danger. In other words, they feel a little bit like we did in 2018. We have to expect them to be enormously mobilized at every level—and plan for them to surge in turnout in 2022.  

How do we counter this? Organize, organize, organize.  

Organize and communicate, at every turn.  

Governor Evers ought to win, based on his record and values. Ron Johnson deserves to lose. But those things will only happen if we organize and communicate so effectively that we overcome the momentum of history, in which the pendulum reliably swings against the president’s party. That’s why we’re investing and organizing so intensively right now, more than a year from the election—and why we’ll just be ramping up, and up, and up. So much is on the line. This fight will be tough. But there’s no group of people I would rather put my fate in than the members and activists and organizers of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. You can do this. We can do this. We’re going to do this—together.  

In solidarity, 

Ben


FIGHT 

Wisconsinites Call Out Ron Johnson For Abandoning Them

This week, Chair Wikler joined Wisconsinites gathered at Ron Johnson’s Madison office—which happens to be located on Wall Street, perhaps in a subtle nod to Johnson’s priorities—to slam Wisconsin’s senior senator for his self-serving actions in office. Johnson has opposed the Build Back Better agenda at every step, standing against middle-class tax cuts, lower health care costs, critical pandemic relief, and federal investments in Wisconsin’s infrastructure. Despite his staunch opposition to delivering for Wisconsin’s working families, Johnson has never had a problem serving himself -- including rigging the tax system to benefit his bottom line and his biggest donors. 

:Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler: “Democrats are proposing help for parents, they’re proposing help for seniors, they’re proposing help for working families and adults. And Ron Johnson is saying no, no, no, no. The only things Ron Johnson ever says yes to are things that line his own pockets and the pockets of his wealthiest donors. This is not the kind of representation that Wisconsin needs or deserves.”

Health Care Worker and Mother of Two, Erica Throneburg:  “At every turn, as Ron Johnson has failed to represent the best interests of parents, children, and local businesses, he has proven to voters that he isn’t working for Wisconsin. And it’s clear that Senator Johnson will not support legislation that is actually good for families like mine.”

USA Today-Wisconsin Editorial Board Demands Gableman Resign, End Sham Investigation

As conspiracy theorist Michael Gableman’s election review boondoggle continues to go off the rails, the USA Today Network-Wisconsin Editorial Board slammed him and the Wisconsin GOP for “flushing taxpayer dollars down the drain” to further Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” about an election that was proven to be secure nearly a year ago. 

This comes on the heels of Gableman admitting he doesn’t know how elections work, hasn’t voted in seven recent elections, and compared reporting to Nazi propaganda. 

The editorial board said, “Republicans should be embarrassed that public money is being used to lend legitimacy to a lie whose premise is at odds with both common sense and the Constitution.” 

Despite a recount, a report from Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security, and countless rulings by courts in Wisconsin proving the 2020 Wisconsin election was secure, Republicans are still running a bogus election review, all while wasting nearly $700,000 in taxpayers funds. If nothing else, Gableman’s ignorance surrounding elections, wildly offensive analogies to Nazism, inability to even write an email or send a subpoena without a typo, demonstrate how unfit he is to investigate a serious topic, discrediting any legitimacy to their election review. 

Rep. Sara Rodriguez and Health Care Professionals Condemn Kleefisch’s Failure on COVID-19

Earlier this week, state Rep. Sara Rodriguez, President of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin Pat Raes, and health care professionals from the Service Employees International Union hit back against Rebecca Kleefisch’s failure to provide a plan for combating the COVID-19 pandemic - the number one crisis facing the state and the country.  

Kleefisch has been radical and reckless with the pandemic since last year - she’s supported bogus treatments for COVID-19, attended and promoted potential super spreader events, and spoke to anti-vaccine groups. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin launched a TV advertisement against Kleefisch’s radical record on COVID-19 last week..

State Rep. Sara Rodriguez: “Too many Republicans put politics before lives and livelihoods. Republicans in the state legislature have undermined Governor Evers’ every effort to implement common sense solutions to the pandemic. We’ve lost too many Wisconsinites and too much time - we can’t afford a governor who doesn’t take the pandemic seriously.” 

Pat Raes, Registered Nurse at Meriter Hospital and President of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin: “Please Ms. Kleefisch, on behalf of all frontline nurses and the families who have lost loved ones -- stop promoting misinformation, stop pandering to anti-vaccine groups, and stop holding events all over our state without public health precautions, because you're putting Wisconsinites' lives at risk.” 

Amanda Klinge, Registered Nurse at UW Health: “As nurses, we need to know we’re protected, supported and heard by our officials. Governor Evers has steadfastly listened to us and provided that support, while Kleefisch has ignored nurses, our families, and our patients every step of the way.” 

Tammy Schutz, Resident Assistant at Oakwood: “This is deeply personal for me, because Kleefisch’s immoral actions are disrespectful, putting me, my coworkers and my residents at risk. She is a threat to the health and future of our state, and cannot be allowed to become governor.”

Paid for by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Ben Wikler, Chair 

Our mailing address is:

15 N. Pinckney St., Ste 200, Madison, Wisconsin 53703


 

WISCONSIN STATE AFL-CIO

There are two jobs bills before Congress, the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) and the Budget Reconciliation Bill. The Build Back Better agenda includes both the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Budget Reconciliation Bill. Together, both bills will create nearly 4 million jobs and make huge investments in the care economy.

  • The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) will provide critical funding to repairing Wisconsin’s roads and bridges, replacing our toxic lead laterals, and ensuring every family has access to broadband – all with critical “Made in America” standards as well as labor standards like prevailing wage. The U.S. Senate recently passed the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act with Senator Ron Johnson voting against the bipartisan bill and Senator Baldwin voting in favor.
  • The Budget Reconciliation bill represents a $3.5 trillion investment in working families, education, paid leave, child care, clean energy jobs, and expansion of health care access. It also includes labor law enforcement with real penalties -- a key provision of the PRO Act.

The Wisconsin State AFL-CIO fully supports both critical bills. Join us in taking action and urging Congress to pass both bills.

The Build Back Better Agenda will usher in an economy that rewards work, not wealth, by making the ultra-wealthy and corporations pay their fair share, cracking down on tax evasion and closing loopholes. The plan will lower costs for working families while creating long-term growth for our economy.

America’s labor movement fully supports both jobs bills. Click here to email Congress in support of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) and the Budget Reconciliation Bill today.

In Solidarity,

Stephanie Bloomingdale, President

Dennis Delie, Secretary-Treasurer