Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Financial Martial Law in Wisconsin, Too?

According to Forbes magazine, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his cronies are drafting legislation that would allow him to appoint emergency managers who could cancel union contracts, fire elected officials and school board members, and take control of entire cities and towns. Rick Unger, who wrote the piece, said that the plan is being written by the largest law firm in the state, Foley & Lardner, and is scheduled to be introduced to the legislature next month.

Walker went on the radio yesterday to deny the report, asserting that it was “absolutely bogus.” He denied that he or anyone in his office ever did or said or planned anything like this, which leaves open the possibility that Foley & Lardner are indeed working on such a plan, and that Walker is simply making a stab at plausible deniability. Unger’s source, a Wisconsin political organizer named Nate Timm, refused to name his source for this information, but had confirmed that he received his information from a “highly placed GOP source” who was in a position to know the governor’s plans.

If true, Wisconsin’s plan would be very similar to the financial martial law plan enacted in Michigan earlier this year, where Governor Snyder has already appointed an Emergency Financial Manager, Joseph Harris, to take over the town of Benton Harbor. One of Harris’ first acts as Manager was to issue an order stripping away all powers from the city’s elected officials. Erik Kain, another Forbes writer, said that the Michigan and Wisconsin plans followed a pattern of similar legislation being pushed through in other Tea-Party controlled states enacting strikingly similar legislation all at the same time across the country.

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