(The Center Square) – One of Wisconsin’s top critics of the 2020 election in the state is not staying silent about the resignation of one of Wisconsin’s Election Commissioners.
Commissioner Dean Knudson on Wednesday resigned his seat on the state’s Election Commission out of frustration with the continued focus on the last presidential vote in Wisconsin.
“Integrity demands acknowledging the truth even when the truth is painful. In this case, the painful truth is that President Trump lost the election in 2020 – lost the election in Wisconsin in 2020. And the loss was not due to election fraud,” Knudson said during Wednesday’s WEC meeting.
Knudson is a former Republican lawmaker, and helped create the Wisconsin Elections Commission back in 2015.
"I'll put my conservative record up against anyone in the state of Wisconsin, and yet now I've been branded a RINO," Knudson added, employing the acronym for Republican In Name Only.
But Republican state Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, on Thursday questioned Knudson’s conservative bona fides.
“Wisconsin Election Commissioner Dean Knutson resigned yesterday citing lack of support from the GOP. He blamed conspiracy theories and misinformation about the 2020 election, but in reality, he simply didn’t do his job, which was to oversee the agency that Wisconsinites depend on for fair and honest elections,” Brandtken said.
Brandtjen has led one of the investigations into the 2020 election from her Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections since early 2021.
Brandtjen said Knudson allowed:
Bloated voter rolls to continue.Madison’s Democracy in the Park"Over $8 million in Zuckerberg money for targeted "get out the vote’ efforts.Ballot trafficking and drop boxes.Illegal suspension of special voting deputies, knowingly.WEC lawsuits against Justice Gableman and Brandtjen instead of cooperating with the investigations.
“Stripping our elections of the safety measures the legislature has put into statute is not what we expect from the Elections Commission; in fact, we expect the exact opposite,” Brandtjen added.
Knudson’s resignation means Republicans will have to appoint another commissioner. That search is underway.
His resignation also came as Commissioner Bob Spindell, who is a vocal 2020 election critic, is set to take over as commission chairman. That vote was supposed to happen Wednesday, but has now been postponed.
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(The Center Square) – An elementary school counselor from Milwaukee is refusing to resign or change her mind about gender identity, even after the state opened an investigation that could cost her her job.
“DPI has opened an investigation to determine whether to initiate educator license revocation proceedings against you,” the letter stated. “It has been alleged that you engaged in immoral conduct.”
Darling was one of several speakers at a feminist rally in Madison on April 23 where she used a commonly expressed profanity repeatedly as she discussed transgenderism.
“I oppose gender ideology ever entering the walls of my school building,” Darling said. “Over my dead ... body will my students be exposed to the heart of gender identity ideology. Not a single one of my students under my ... watch will ever, ever transition socially, and sure as hell not medically.”
DPI’s letter said the investigation will “determine if there is probable cause to support allegations of immoral conduct.”
DPI gave Darlingh the option to resign ahead of the investigation, but Darlingh opted instead to fight.
On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty sent a letter to DPI that promises a lawsuit if the state tries to suspend Darlingh’s license because of her opposition to transgenderism or her use of profanity.
“The state is, quite simply, trying to punish a public-school counselor for her views on gender ideology. This is a classic, clear-cut, violation of the First Amendment and the state can expect a federal lawsuit if it proceeds,” WILL’s Luke Berg said.
Darling said she will not back down, and will not change her mind about transgenderism even after the investigation is complete.
“My views on the harms of gender ideology to children are informed by a desire to serve and protect children,” Darling said in a statement. “That’s why I got into education. I will love and serve every child under my care, no matter what. But I won’t recant under threat from the state.”
(The Center Square) – A number of Wisconsin’s progressive advocates and big labor unions want Milwaukee to abandon plans to host the Republican National Convention because they don’t like Republicans’ politics.
Voces de la Frontera Action, Power to the Polls, the Milwaukee Area Labor Council, Never Again is Now, and SEIU all signed on to an open letter Tuesday asking Milwaukee’s city council to reject a contract that would be necessary for Milwaukee to host the RNC in 2024.
“We the undersigned community organizations want to send a clear message to city, county and state leaders: the Republican National Convention is not welcome in Milwaukee,” the groups wrote. “The Republican Party, both nationally and in Wisconsin, has become an organization that supports White Supremacists, the violent attempted coup at the US Capitol to overthrow a democratic election, and continues to engineer new ways to undermine fair and democratic elections.”
The open letter comes as city leaders in Milwaukee are set to vote on the RNC contract on Wednesday.
Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson on Tuesday said the city can host the Republican convention without endorsing the Republican Party’s political views.
"I think that the RNC presents a tremendous opportunity for us in Milwaukee," Johnson told reporters. "I think it presents a great opportunity for Milwaukee to be in the national conversation, to be a city that other large conventions and other large events look to. I want the RNC to be the bedrock for a new and stronger convention and tourism economy that we can build here in the city of Milwaukee."
Johnson said his support for the RNC is a “business decision.”
CJ Szafir with the Institute for Reforming Government said the opposition is “on-brand” from progressives and big labor in the state
“It's terribly disappointing that progressive and labor groups are opposed to Milwaukee hosting an event that could bring up to 45,000 visitors to the city, creating as much as $200 million in economic impact. This would directly benefit Milwaukee small businesses and workers, which ironically is who these groups claim to care about,” Szafir told The Center Square. “A political convention is one of the great American historic events and to have the RNC come to Milwaukee in 2024 would give Milwaukee the global spotlight that it deserves. This should get bipartisan support.”
Milwaukee and Nashville, Tennessee are the final two cities in the running for hosting the RNC in 2024. A decision on the winning city is expected later this summer.
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(The Center Square) – Republicans at the Wisconsin Capitol are not happy with the new choice for chancellor at UW-Madison.
Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, who is the vice chairman of the Senate’s committee for universities and technical colleges, called Dr. Jennifer Mnookin a “ridiculous choice.”
“Jennifer Mnookin has a very clear history of advocating for the forced indoctrination of college students with critical race theory. She has openly supported mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations regardless of the rights of individuals to make that healthcare determination for themselves.,” Nass said Monday. “It has also been reported that Mnookin met with the scandal plagued Hunter Biden (in 2019) and supported him joining the UCLA faculty to instruct students on drug policies.”
UW Regents unanimously chose Mnookin, who is currently the dean at UCLA’s law school. They announced her selection on Monday.
Nass said the Republican-controlled legislature should take Mnookin’s appointment as a message from the university.
“If the Board of Regents truly believes that Mnookin is the best choice, then the next Republican governor and legislature should find it impossible to provide more taxpayer dollars or allow the board to increase tuition,” Nass added.
UW Regent Karen Walsh told reporters Tuesday that she doesn’t take that threat seriously.
“I don’t think that’s realistic,” Walsh said. “I would like for those folks to meet with Chancellor Mnookin before they threaten our funding. I don’t think they intend to do that. I think they’re much more interested in sitting in a room with us and talking about our differences.”
Mnookin told the same news conference that she is waiting to get to campus, so she can meet with everyone involved with the university.
"I look forward to arriving in Madison and looking for that common ground, and higher education is a place where I hope we can come together,” Mnookin added.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Monday pushed regents to take a look at another chancellor candidate.
“We deserve campus leaders who will encourage healthy debate, diverse thoughts and freedom of expression. Given her obvious viewpoints and political donations, Dr. Mnookin needs to prove she supports free speech on campus and not politically correct ideologies,” Vos said. “After all the work of Tommy Thompson and Rebecca Blank that attempted to strengthen relationships between the university and the Legislature, this is a step backwards. I strongly hope the Board of Regents will reconsider their selection.”
(The Center Square) – Gasoline prices hit a new high in the U.S. on Monday, with the average cost of a gallon of regular gas at $4.48.
That's an increase of 15 cents a gallon in the past week and 40 cents over this time last month. A year ago, gas prices on average were $3.04 a gallon, $1.44 cheaper.
The average price for a gallon of diesel fuel is at $5.57 a gallon, also a record high. Diesel fuel is used by truckers who transport goods across the country, contributing to 40-year-high inflation that's sending the prices of groceries and other commodities significantly higher.
In California, the average price of a gallon of gasoline is $5.98, highest in the U.S.
President Joe Biden has attempted to blame the rising cost of gasoline on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but prices began elevating shortly after he took office, when he canceled new oil and gas leases on federal lands and placed new restrictions on the industry.
Just last week, Biden canceled three pending oil and gas drilling leases in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.
(The Center Square) – The Republicans running for governor in Wisconsin are promising more cops, more prisons, and say they'll fire prosecutors who don’t get tough on crime after a violent weekend in Milwaukee that saw more than two dozen people shot.
Milwaukee Police say Friday night’s shootings near the Deer District wounded 21 people. Another of those shootings saw 17 people shot. A string of shootings on Sunday saw another five people shot, including two people who died.
Monday saw the Republicans running for governor promising to get tougher on crime if elected.
“The simple points are to put 1,000 more cops on the street. Bail and sentencing reform to stop these bad D.A.’s and these bad judges. Fire [Milwaukee County] District Attorney John Chisholm on day one. And use the Wisconsin State Patrol to surge where violent crime is surging,” frontrunner Rebecca Kleefisch told News Talk 1130 WISN’s Jay Weber Monday morning.
Kleefisch said under Democratic leadership the Deer District has become the “fear district.”
Republican Tim Michels is also promising to fire Milwaukee County’s district attorney. But he is also promising to fire other prosecutors across the state who don’t get tougher on crime.
“I will review all the D.A.s, and the ones who have an awful pattern of catch-and-release, dropping charges quickly, and letting guys out on the street, I will remove them from office,” Michels told Weber.
Michels also said he wants to build more prisons in the state, starting with a replacement for the maximum security prison in Green Bay.
Candidate Kevin Nicholson took to Twitter on Sunday to blast Chisholm and the leadership in Milwaukee.
“Twenty one shot on Friday; 3 murdered last night. Out of control car thefts. Record-breaking homicides,” Nicholson Tweeted. “We’re sick of it. Time to turn the page. We need new leaders who are serious about getting this back on track.”
Crime and public safety have been issues in the race for governor since day one. Republicans have blamed Gov. Tony Evers for the spike in violent crime during his time in office, including record years for both shootings and homicides in Milwaukee for the past two years.
The governor on Saturday offered thoughts and prayers, but didn’t offer any plans after Milwaukee’s violent weekend.
“Kathy and I are heartbroken by last night’s horrific acts of gun violence in Milwaukee. We are thinking of all the people who were injured and are praying for their full recovery, and we are thinking of the many people affected by this senseless tragedy,” the governor Tweeted.
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U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack: Illegal Immigrants Getting Baby Formula While Americans Left With Empty Shelves
(The Center Square) – U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack and other Republican lawmakers are calling on the FDA and the Biden administration to take immediate action to solve a months-long baby formula shortage that's left parents scrambling to find healthy food for their infant children.
Cammack, R-Florida, called on Americans to “demand that the administration take action putting the baby formula back on the shelves for American kids,” prioritizing them over illegal immigrants.
Cammack posted photos of stocked shelves of baby formula at a Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Texas alongside a photo of empty shelves in an American store. Describing them, she said, “The first photo is from this morning at the Ursula Processing Center at the U.S. border. Shelves and pallets packed with baby formula. The second is from a shelf right here at home. Formula is scarce."
The Florida congresswoman was referring to the Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, which is the largest detention facility at the southern border where illegal immigrants are held during processing. By law, federal agents are required to provide food and water to illegal immigrants held in detention facilities. CBP officers are also required to determine admissibility of baby formula for personal and commercial use that is brought into the country.
“We literally are struggling to find baby formula around the country,” Cammack said during a Facebook Live stream. “Moms are struggling, going from store to store to store and then the stores are actually capping the amount of baby formula that they will sell them but, and this got sent to me by a Border Patrol agent this morning, and said, ‘This is disgusting. You will not believe this. They’re receiving pallets, and more pallets of baby formula at the border.'”
She added, “He has been a border patrol agent for 30 years and he has never seen anything quite like this. He is a grandfather and he is saying that his own children can’t get baby formula.”
In response, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a joint statement with National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd saying, "President Biden has turned a blind eye to parents across America who are facing the nightmare of a nationwide baby formula shortage.
“While mothers and fathers stare at empty grocery store shelves in a panic, the Biden Administration is happy to provide baby formula to illegal immigrants coming across our southern border.
As of April 24, 40% of the top-selling baby formula products were out of stock nationwide, according to an analysis by Datasembly, which tracked baby formula stock at more than 11,000 stores, CBS News reported.
“This is yet another one in a long line of reckless, out-of-touch priorities from the Biden Administration when it comes to securing our border and protecting Americans," the joint statement from Abbott and Judd said. "Our children deserve a president who puts their needs and survival first – not one who gives critical supplies to illegal immigrants before the very people he took an oath to serve."
On Tuesday, House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf requesting answers on the shortage. Stefanik has been contacting the FDA about the shortage since February.
Also on Tuesday, Califf issued a statement providing an update on the FDA’s failure to increase the availability of infant and specialty formula products. In February, it warned consumers not to use certain products from Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, Michigan, facility, which had issued a voluntary recall of certain products. Since then, increasing shortages, coupled with supply chain and other issues, have led to what is now a crisis for many.
“We recognize that many consumers have been unable to access infant formula and critical medical foods they are accustomed to using and are frustrated by their inability to do so. We are doing everything in our power to ensure there is adequate product available where and when they need it,” Califf said. “Ensuring the availability of safe, sole-source nutrition products like infant formula is of the utmost importance to the FDA. Our teams have been working tirelessly to address and alleviate supply issues and will continue doing everything within our authority to ensure the production of safe infant formula products.”
Stefanik led a coalition on Thursday calling on the FDA and the Biden administration to take immediate action.
“Joe Biden simply has no plan. In fact, when Joe Biden's White House was asked about the shortage, they laughed. Shameful," Stefanik said. "Make no mistake, there is nothing laughable or funny about this crisis."
The administration “should have had a plan for this shortage months ago," she added. "Instead, bare shelves Biden has continued to pass the buck. … This is not a Third World country. This should never happen in the United States of America. We're unified in demanding action to address this crisis."
More than 100 House Republicans wrote a letter to Biden Wednesday demanding that he address the shortage “with the appropriate urgency it deserves.”
Karine Jean-Pierre, White House principal deputy press secretary, addressed the issue during a press briefing on Wednesday. She told reporters, "Ensuring that infant formula is safe and available for families across the country is a top priority to the White House and this administration. This is an urgent issue that the FDA, as you all know, and the White House is working 24/7 to address."
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(The Center Square) – The promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, on college campuses has become a big focus in academia, but a study says many of the programs are bloated and have a high taxpayer cost.
The Heritage Foundation found that colleges’ vast DEI bureaucracy has little to do with students’ satisfaction with their college.
The study showed the average university has 45.1 people tasked with promoting diversity, equity and inclusion, but some schools have many more.
At the University of Illinois alone, there are 71 DEI personnel, which is four out of every 100 faculty members. At Northwestern University, there are 52 DEI faculty members.
Many DEI employees earn six-figure salaries for leading initiatives that the authors found to be ineffective and instead enforce a “political orthodoxy.”
Sean Garrick, vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion at the U of I, earns nearly $330,000 a year, the study found.
Heritage Foundation researcher Jay Greene said university officials could be adding DEI staff in an effort to avoid trouble on campus.
“Whenever there is some incident on or off campus where students might agitate and make trouble, they try to buy off that trouble by creating more and larger DEI staff,” Greene said.
Taxpayers of Illinois aren’t sending their dollars to the U of I to provide patronage to campus radicals, he added.
“They are providing money to the University of Illinois to educate their kids, and not to indoctrinate their kids in radical ideology,” Greene said.
The authors of the report note that it is troubling that much of the programming that DEI personnel offer tends to lack diversity of viewpoints and may have the effect of dividing rather than including.
The authors said legislators should consider reducing and restructuring DEI staffs to achieve legitimate goals at substantially lower costs.
“The university’s access to the public treasury is dependent on the university sensibly using those resources,” Greene said.
The U of I received $628.5 million from state taxpayers in fiscal year 2021. The budget that begins July 1 sends the university nearly $650.2 million. All state universities combined get $1.15 billion from the budget that starts this summer.
(The Center Square) – More seats are open to more people on the Police Civilian Oversight Board in Madison, Wis.
The city’s common council on Tuesday night eliminated a racial quota from the board.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty said it looks forward to settling its lawsuit against Madison now that the Oversight Board ordinance has changed.
“The City of Madison has not identified a compelling government interest that would justify racial quotas. The Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection requires governments – at all levels – to treat citizens as individuals, not members of a group or racial class,” WILL wrote in a statement about the reversal.
WILL initially objected to the Police Civilian Oversight Board’s quotas back in January 2021, the group sued Madison over the Oversight Board in June of last year.
GOP State Senate Watch List
Updated: 5/24/2022 2:00PM
The GOP Senators that have signed the Roth petition to go into extraordinary session to fire parole commissioner John Tate:
The GOP Senators who have NOT signed the petition: