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Robin Vos Calls Bowen’s Actions “Abhorrent”; Assembly To Discuss Discipline

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Four of a Seven Chapter Series

I think Rep. Bowen’s actions were abhorrent, and we will be discussing options for the Assembly to address his actions,” – Assembly Speaker Robin Vos

Read Chapter One Here

Read Chapter Two Here

Read Chapter Three Here

Read Chapter Five Here

The top two leaders in the Wisconsin State Assembly say they will discuss Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber’s request that they seek discipline against state Rep. David Bowen in an upcoming caucus meeting of all Assembly Republicans.

I think Rep. Bowen’s actions were abhorrent, and we will be discussing options for the Assembly to address his actions,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told Wisconsin Right Now on Jan. 23 in an exclusive interview.

In addition, state Rep. Jim Steineke, the Assembly’s Majority Leader, also promised a constituent that Assembly Republicans in that body will finally discuss Weber’s September request that the Legislature discipline – and consider expelling – Bowen (D-Milwaukee) for his alleged role relating to the vicious People’s Revolution mob attack against two police officers at their home, which left both with physical injuries.

The attack occurred in August; what’s new, though: Weber’s letter came to light, and WRN received voluminous police reports via an open records request that shed more light on Bowen’s role that day.

The police reports, for example, allege that a video shows Mensah was “being battered with Wisconsin State Representative also in close proximity.” David Bowen was the only state representative at the scene that day.

WRN also requested comment from every Assembly member regarding Weber’s request. None wrote back.

Bowen has not been arrested or charged in connection with the mob attack against then Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah and Milwaukee Police Officer Patricia Swayka at Swayka’s home in August. Three People’s Revolution members were criminally charged, one with discharging a firearm near the officers, who were left with injuries after being beaten by multiple people. Their home was also vandalized. The People’s Revolution was furious at Mensah over his three on-duty fatal shootings. However, District Attorney John Chisholm ruled all three were legally justified acts of self defense.

Here are the new accusations against Bowen:

  • That, according to Weber, “Mr. Bowen lied in his publicly issued statement.” As we have reported, two People’s Revolution members, including accused shooter Ronald Bell, told police that Bowen lied to the public about what happened in the mob attack. In addition, public statements that Bowen gave – essentially trying to pin the blame on the officer – are repudiated by the criminal complaint against the accused shooter. Even two People’s Revolution members later told police that Officer Mensah was the victim in the attack, along with his girlfriend.
  • Bowen refused to talk to the police about the felony crimes they were investigating even though he was an eyewitness to the situation.
  • The accused shooter, Bell, told police that Bowen allegedly encouraged him not to turn himself in to police.
  • Bowen was allegedly in the parking lot of Target when People’s Revolution members were at the store to buy toilet paper before the mob attack; toilet paper was strewn on Swayka’s lawn during the assault. Protester Corey Kirkwood told police that he observed David Bowen approach TPR member Percy Hayes and “ask where the group was going with the toilet paper” before they left Target. “Hayes and Bowen moved away from the others so Kirkwood did not hear anymore of the conversation. As the group drove away from Target, Kirkwood pulled alongside Bowen and asked Bowen if he knew where they were headed. Bowen replied something similar to, ‘I can’t tell you but you’re going to like where we’re going,'” the police reports allege.
  • There are conflicting reports about whether Bowen himself threw toilet paper during the mob attack.
  • There is no evidence that Bowen tried to stop the attack.
  • According to reports, while referring to a bullhorn that was cracked over Officer Joseph Mensah’s head, Bowen allegedly told protesters, “It was good that we got at him, and now Alvin Cole’s mom has a souvenir.” Cole was the armed teen shot by Mensah outside Mayfair Mall after Cole discharged a firearm near the officer, according to the DA. The shooting was ruled justified self defense.
  • A People’s Revolution member alleged that Bowen shouted an expletive at the officer during the attack.
  • Bowen is accused of being present when People’s Revolution member Khalil Coleman allegedly instructed people to delete videos of the incident, police reports contend.
  • Bowen has been named in a citation relating to a separate incident that says he and a Tammy Baldwin staffer refused to comply with police officers’ requests that they comply with an emergency order and get out of the road.

Now it appears Legislative leaders want to do something about it – or at least consider doing something about it.

Bowen’s refusal to talk to police was not without consequence; police never brought to justice various people accused of physically assaulting the two officers and another eyewitness account might have helped secure prosecution.

“I didn’t get the email from the police chief, but it’s something we’ll be talking about as a caucus,” Steineke pledged to the constituent, who sent the Jan. 21 exchange to Wisconsin Right Now.

The concerned constituent sent our previous story on Weber’s letter – and the Legislature’s non-response – to Steineke. As we reported a few days ago, Weber told legislators in September that Bowen “actively participated in this incident,” labeling the legislator’s behavior “appalling” and saying it made a “mockery” of the justice system. But they didn’t even bother to write back. He requested discipline, for which there is precedent – the Legislature censured Rep. Jeff Wood in 2010 for behavior that “brought disrepute on the Wisconsin state assembly by damaging the institution’s integrity with the public.”

“Sir, I request that this matter be brought to the attention of the membership and that disciplinary action up to and including expulsion be considered,” requested the chief, who asked that the Republicans in the Legislature live up to their law-and-order rhetoric.

The caucus refers to Republicans meeting privately to discuss strategy and other issues.

David bowen discipline

Chief Weber’s Complaint Letter

On September 1, Weber wrote Vos the scathing complaint letter about David Bowen.

“On Aug. 10, 2020, State Representative David Bowen issues a press statement on official state letterhead, regarding an incident that he was present at, on Aug. 8, 2020,” it reads.

“On that date a group of people who refer to themselves as ‘The People’s Revolution,’ including Mr. Bowen went to the residence of a Wauwatosa Police Officer, Joseph Mensah, and proceeded to verbally attack him, physically assault him, and trespass on his property. A shot was fired in Mensah’s direction into his house from a shotgun.”

The chief added, “Representative Bowen actively participated during this incident and claimed the officer’s statements were not factual. He accused not only the officer but also the Wauwatosa Police Department of issuing a false statement. He further claimed that Officer Mensah caused the entire problem. That is not true. Mr. Bowen lied in his publicly issued statement.”

Weber’s letter to Vos continues, “For almost a week following the incident, our investigators attempted to contact Mr. Bowen to give us information since he claimed to be a witness. He did not acknowledge our attempts to contact him. In fact, he had his attorney contact us and advise that he would not give a statement.”

The chief said, “The person who fired the weapon at Officer Mensah was subsequently identified by our investigators, was arrested and confessed to the actions that he took. The weapon was also recovered. The weapon was also recovered after a search warrant was issued. Mr. Bowen was also an active participant at an unlawful gathering in front of my home that occurred the previous night, August 7, 2020.”

The chief’s request came via a formal letter to Vos. The chief requested that the letter be “brought to the attention of membership.” Here it is in full:

David bowen discipline

David bowen discipline“I find the conduct of Mr. Bowen to be appalling and disgusting. He has made a mockery of our system of law and order in Wisconsin, and has brought disgrace to the office in which he serves,” Weber wrote Vos.

Past Precedent For Legislator Discipline

There would be precedent for the Legislature to heed Weber’s request. Thirteen legislators have been disciplined in the Wisconsin Legislature’s history, according to a 2020 Legislative Reference Bureau report called “Discipline in the Wisconsin Legislature: A History of Reprimand, Censure, Suspension, and Expulsion.”

Expulsion is historically rare in the Wisconsin Legislature. It’s happened twice, the report says: “Councilman James R. Vineyard for the murder of another member of the 1842 territorial legislature and Senator Frank Raguse for treasonous words spoken on the senate floor in debate during World War I in 1917.”

However, there are other options that don’t require a two thirds vote. The report says:

The Wisconsin Constitution gives the legislature the power to expel its members with a two-thirds majority vote. In this way, the severest of penalties requires an affirmative vote of an extraordinary majority of each house. The Assembly and Senate may also punish their members for contempt and disorderly behavior. Since there is no supermajority requirement for punishing contempt or disorderly behavior, legislative discipline for these actions requires only a majority vote of members present, assuming a quorum exists. As with the expulsion of members, the constitution provides no clear or explicit grounds for disciplining a member. Each house of the legislature alone determines the permissible boundaries of conduct subject to expulsion and discipline…Another punishment that could be used by the legislature is to impose a monetary fine on members for their contempt or disorderly behaviors.

According to The Atlantic, expulsion was contemplated against state Rep. Bill Kramer, a Republican accused of sexual harassment.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently called for three Republicans to be expelled from Congress – Ron Johnson, Scott Fitzgerald and Tom Tiffany – over voter fraud statements, even though Johnson voted to certify the election. The newspaper has made no similar call to expel Bowen for his comments and presence at a riot in which two police officers were beaten and a gun was discharged near them.

David Bowen has urged removal of the president for the Capitol riots, writing, “A non debatable Impeachment & Removal vote in both the House and Senate scheduled for tonight be great… make a clean up or down vote and we see where ppl like Sen. Ron Johnson stand.”

We reached out to Bowen for his reaction to the allegations in the police report and he didn’t respond.

Disclosure: WRN contributor Jessica McBride is the niece of Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride. Jim Piwowarcyzk, the owner of WRN, is the author of this story.

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Wisconsin Lawmakers Push Questions About IDs For Illegal Immigrants, Voting

(The Center Square) – Some Wisconsin lawmakers are trying to calm fears about illegal immigrants getting IDs and voting in the state.

The Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections and the Senate Committee on Shared Revenue, Elections and Consumer Protection held a hearing Thursday with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, some local election clerks and Fond du Lac County’s district attorney.

“We're not trying to get anybody into a bad spot here, or in a corner, or make accusations on that level,” Sen. Dan Knodl, R-Germantown, said. “We want our clerks, who are already stressed enough, to know that we are here to be there as an assist to them.”

Rep. Scott Krug, R-Nekoosa, said he wants to make sure voters have faith in Wisconsin’s electoral process.

“This is one of the topics that hit our inboxes quite a bit the last three months or so,” Krug added. “We thought it’s pretty important just to vet it out, to get all the information out to the public.”

The Wisconsin Elections Commission was invited to Thursday’s meeting but didn’t attend because commissioners were having a meeting of their own. But that left lawmakers’ questions unanswered.

Wis-DOT Deputy Secretary Kristina Boardman said Wisconsin is known as a strict voter ID state.

“I want to make very clear that Wis-DOT is required to provide free identification cards for U.S. citizens that request them for the purposes of voting, and that to be eligible for that free identification card one must be a U.S. citizen and at least 17 years of age,” Boardman said. “Wis-DOT staff do not determine voter eligibility or register anyone to vote. Someone who has a Wisconsin ID or a driver's license is eligible to register to vote online, and that information will be confirmed with Wisconsin DMV systems to ensure that the information entered for voter registration is consistent with the DMV's records

Boardman said in Wisconsin, less than a fraction of one percent of ID requests are fraudulent.

“We put together [a] case activity report, assemble all of the documentation that we have, we have the investigator that had the case pull that together, and we do refer that to law enforcement so that they can take whatever action is appropriate,” Boardman added. “We note what statutes we believe may have been violated. And then it's up to law enforcement to take action.”

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Senate Republicans Override Evers’ Vetoes

(The Center Square) – On Tuesday, the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Senate voted to override nine vetoes from Gov. Tony Evers, including the vetoes that scuttled PFAS clean-up money, millions of dollars that were earmarked for hospitals in Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls and a plan that would allow advanced practice registered nurses to work more independently.

“The legislature has passed hundreds of bills to solve problems facing Wisconsin businesses and families. Most of these bills were signed into law, but many were vetoed by a governor more focused on politics than policies that help everyday Wisconsinites,” Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said Tuesday. “Overriding the governor’s obstructive vetoes is the last, best way to address these critical issues.”

The override votes came one day after Evers sued the legislature over nearly $200 million that is attached to some of his vetoes.

Most of that money is the $125 million that’s supposed to go toward PFAS clean up in Wisconsin.

“For the fifth time this legislative session, I voted to provide Wisconsin families with the largest investment in clean drinking water in state history – five more times than every Democrat legislator in this state combined. The bill that Gov. Evers vetoed (SB 312) would have created a grant program that targets this critical funding to areas of the state most heavily impacted by PFAS contamination while protecting innocent landowners from financial ruin,” Sen Duey Stroebel, R-Cedarburg, said.

Evers has accused the legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee of obstructing his plans to clean up Wisconsin’s drinking water, and of delaying his other actions across the state.

LeMahieu said Evers is simply playing the game.

“While Gov. Evers plays politics, the legislature will continue to do the right thing on behalf of the people of our state,” LeMahieu added.

Senate Democrats responded with game-playing accusations of their own.

“Coming in to do all these veto overrides was clearly a stunt to try to appeal to voters ahead of the fall election,” Den. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, said. “Clearly Republicans were hearing from things in their district and wanted political cover. I don't think they got political cover today. I think what they got was people realizing just how afraid they are.”

But Tuesday’s veto overrides are largely symbolic.

While Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate have a veto-proof majority, Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly do not.

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Trump Holds Lead Over Biden Heading Toward November

With less than half a year until the 2024 presidential election, former President Donald Trump holds a sizable lead over incumbent President Joe Biden in several swing states.

While the overall national polling varies and shows a tighter race, Trump holds significant leads in several swing states.

According to Real Clear Politics, Trump leads in a slew of key battleground states like Arizona (+5.2), Georgia (+4.6), Michigan (+0.8), Nevada (+6.2), North Carolina (+5.4), Pennsylvania (+2.0), and Wisconsin (+0.6).

Other polling has shown Trump with a dominant lead in the Sun Belt while performing less well against Biden in some rust belt swing states.

“As the old saying goes, good gets better and bad gets worse, and it’s clear President Biden is in bad shape right now,” Colin Reed, a Republican strategist, former campaign manager for U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and co-founder of South and Hill Strategies, told The Center Square. “Five and a half months is an eternity in politics, and there’s theoretically still time to right the ship, but it’s getting late early for the president, especially when Father Time remains undefeated and doubts about his age continue to grow. “

According to the Real Clear Politics’ national polling average, Trump leads Biden 46.1% to 44.9%.

A New York Times poll released this week showed leads for Trump in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania but slightly trailing Biden in Wisconsin, raising concerns among supporters.

Trump’s lead has been in large part fueled by minority voters flocking to his side.

Meanwhile, Biden’s approval rating has plummeted since taking office. While that is not unusual for incumbents, Biden’s approval is lower than recent presidents.

Gallup recently released polling data showing that in the 13th quarter of Biden’s presidency, he averaged a 38.7% approval rating, worse than Trump at the same time in his term.

“None of the other nine presidents elected to their first term since Dwight Eisenhower had a lower 13th-quarter average than Biden,” Gallup said.

Axios reported this week that Biden and his team think the polls don’t represent Americans’ actual feelings and that the president’s position is strong.

“They're still 50% (well 45%) to win, per betting markets,” pollster Nate Silver wrote on X. “But Biden has been behind Trump in polls for a year now. His approval is in the tank, and voters have been clear they think he's too old. If Trump wins, history will not remember Biden kindly.”

Meanwhile, Trump spends valuable campaign time in a series of court appearances for his myriad of federal prosecution court dates.

“I’m under a gag order,” Trump told reporters after a court appearance Tuesday. “Nobody has actually seen anything like it ... I'm beating him in every poll and I have a gag order, so I think it's totally unconstitutional."

Republicans have blasted Biden for Trump’s prosecution, accusing Biden of using the Justice Department against his political opponent.

“Despite Far Left Democrats’ illegal election interference, President Trump is beating Joe Biden in the polls!” Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., wrote on X Tuesday. “Voters see right through the sham Biden Trials and know President Trump is the best choice for president.”

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