The performances by the Wisconsin Department of Administration’s (DOA) Deputy Secretary Chris Schoenherr and Communications Director Jocelyn Webster, at the three information sessions held in the Capitol basement last week, on behalf of its new rules for public use of the Wisconsin Capitol, were mesmerizing.
|Schoenherr - watched by 1st Amendment patriot Ben Maisel|
photo by Jenna Pope
|Webster - photo by Lisa Wells|
Ms. Webster’s performance in particular, (9:14-9:36 in the video) during the first public informationsession on Tuesday piqued the curiosity of a group of citizen reporters.
Where had Ms. Webster hid her many talents? Rolling her eyes at Wisconsin citizens’ belief that they could ask a public servant questions, shaking her head in disgust at the public’s comments about their guaranteed rights of speech and assembly, and placing her hands on her hips in a manner that plainly stated, “just who the f#My associates yearned to know more about this unknown star in the Walker administration. And with the help of their research I share our findings about this apostle of Karl Rove, a young, but well-travelled political dynamo.
©k do you Cheeseheads think you are?”
“A Turd Blossom Grows In Wisconsin”turd blossom
--n. Texas, a wild flower that grows out of cow manure.
|Karl "turd blossom" Rove|
Is a 28 year-old political appointee important to a discussion of Scott Walker’s troubled tenure as Wisconsin governor?
The same question might have been asked one year ago about Cynthia Archer, the former DOA Deputy Secretary and top aide to Milwaukee County Executive Walker.Archer, who resigned her DOA position on August 19, had her Madison home raided and computers seized by the FBI in September. The federal search occurred amidst a John Doe investigation in Milwaukee County which has focused on another aide to then Milwaukee County Executive Walker, in which the aide performed political functions on government time - and the taxpayer’s dime.
Archer and Webster, like all political appointees, offer their unique combination of experiences, accomplishments, and personal and professional connections, in order to secure taxpayer funded positions. To whom our elected officials bestow these positions can provide insight into the politician that offers them.Perhaps in researching Ms. Webster’s resume, we will find particular talents and experiences that illuminate the governing values of the Walker administration.
From 7-Eleven to MadisonMs. Webster, Deputy Secretary Schoenherr told the public at the Capitol rules information sessions, is a political appointee who joined the DOA about one month ago.
|New Jersey Governor Chris Christie|
Prior to selling Wisconsinites on the new and improved Wisconsin Constitution, she sold Big Gulp’s and Slurpee’s for 7-Eleven as their Regional Manager for Government Affairs, a position which was preceded by campaign communications positions with New Jersey’s Chris Christie for Governor, and Rudy Giuliani for President.
On December 1, Webster moved into high gear in her new Wisconsin job with the DOA’s release of the “Wisconsin State Facilities Access Policy” which established rules for use of all State facilities, the most well-known of which is the State Capitol.Unfortunately Webster's December 1 press release, in which the new rules were announced, did not include one important ingredient – the truth.
"This is all existing policy," she said. "We're just putting it all in one place."As a recent transplant to Wisconsin, Webster must not have known that Madison has one of the highest percentages of graduate and professional degrees of any city in the United States, and that its residents would actually read the DOA’s twenty-three page document that outlines numerous changes to public use of the State Capitol building.
A few of the new rules which caught the reading public’s attention:
- Four or more people must apply for a permit – 72 hours in advance.
- Political speech may be charged at $50 per hour - per officer - for police services.
- Clean-up costs may be charged, with no set standards for billing.
- Capitol users revoke their right to sue the state when injured or killed by state employees.
Did Webster become a lying political hack in her one month in Wisconsin - or is it a well-honed skill learned from a previous employer?
Washington D.C.Six years before Ms. Webster found her way to Madison’s Beltline, she had to find her way around the infinitely more hostile Washington D.C. Beltway, a political war zone which Hunter S. Thompson described as having "human remains on the sidewalk," and that "the hallways in the White House basement (are). . . slick with human scum."
No better description than “human scum” could be given to the man who ran the White House Office of Political Affairs (OPA), the political brains behind George W. Bush, the turd blossom himself - Karl Rove.The OPA had been taken to such amazingly new lows of political corruption under Rove’s leadership that John McCain promised to abolish the office if he was elected president.
It was in the OPA, at the foot of Karl Rove, the turd blossom himself, that Jocelyn Webster learned about the political value of truth, and where she honed her tradecraft as a political operative.
To fully describe Karl Rove’s nefarious dealings and mendacity would require an army of historians. An overview of his work with “W” will highlight the “turd” in turd blossom.
· Rove sold the Texas Governor to the American voters as a “compassionate conservative” - promising that this particular Republican was somehow concerned about average Americans.
· Rove shaped the lie that Iraq was involved in the attacks of 9/11, possessed WMD’s, and that Iraqi oil reserves would pay for the American war in Iraq.
· Rove outed undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame, because her husband Joe Wilson refused to support the White House story that Iraq had purchased yellowcake from Niger.
· Rove provided extensive White House access to uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was later convicted on conspiracy charges, and was at the center of White House corruption charges that led to convictions of several White House aides.
· Rove initiated the unprecedented mid-term dismissals of US Attorneys for their perceived lack of political purity.And then there was the issue that Walker watchers will recognize…
Rove’s Office of Political Affairs Broke Federal Laws“The Bush White House, particularly before the 2006 midterm elections, routinely violated a federal law that prohibits use of federal tax dollars to pay for political activities by creating a “political boiler room” that coordinated Republican campaign activities nationwide.” – New York Times
Rove’s OPA repeatedly and willfully violated the 1939 Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees or taxpayer dollars to be used for partisan political reasons, according to a 117 page report by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC).The investigation determined that the OPA “was essentially an extension of the RNC (Republican National Committee) in the White House” and that “the political activities of OPA employees were not incidental to their official functions, and thus U.S. Treasury funds were unlawfully used to finance efforts to pursue Republican victories at the polls.”
The OSC report lists multiple illegal partisan activities coordinated by the OPA and Karl Rove:
· Methodically coordinated administration support to aid the campaigns of Republican candidates.
· Conducted political briefings at numerous agencies where PowerPoint presentations were displayed noting targeted candidates.
· Tracked fundraisers by identifying the number of attendees and amount of money raised at events where high-level political appointees gave keynote addresses.
Rove’s illegal activities even used taxpayer dollars to target a Wisconsin Congressman in the 2006 mid-term elections. One Power Point presentation, shown to various federal agency political appointees, included the targeted Democrat Steve Kagen of Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional district, whose district was among the list of seats that the GOP hoped to win.
In light of the content of the PowerPoint slides and the testimony of many witnesses, these briefings created an environment aimed at assisting Republican candidates, constituting political activity within the meaning of the Hatch Act. - OSC report
Webster’s Partisan Email Investigated by CongressA congressional committee, investigating impropriety by Rove’s deputy, and Webster’s boss, Scott Jennings, who gave a partisan Power Point presentation to political appointees at the General Services Administration (GSA), raised questions about OPA employees using RNC email accounts rather than their official White House email.
The use of RNC email accounts raised a concern to the investigators beyond public taxpayer expenditures on partisan politics. Because the RNC emails did not reside on government controlled servers they could be destroyed by negligence or malice. Their destruction would be illegal and would hamper an investigation into White House malfeasance.
Jocelyn Webster Becomes a Star of the Investigation
Webster, listed as Scott Jennings’ “assistant” in an April 4, 2007 letter from investigating Committee Chairman, Congressman Harry Waxman, to the RNC Chairman, is personally implicated for her use of RNC email accounts.
In communicating with GSA about the presentation, Mr. Jennings and his assistant used “gwb43.com” e-mail accounts maintained by the RNC rather than their official White House e-mail accounts. In their e-mails, they described the presentation as a “close hold” and said that “we’re not supposed to be emailing it around.”
Two weeks later, Waxman again references Webster in a letter to the RNC Chair, demanding that the RNC comply with the Committee’s request for emails, and criticizes the RNC’s offer to limit the email search parameters. Waxman writes:
"(T)he search terms proposed by the RNC would not have located a January 19, 2007, e-mail from an official in Karl Rove's office to an official at the General Services Administration transmitting a copy of PowerPoint slides prepared by the White House that list the top 20 Democratic targets in 2008.”
The e-mail to which Congressman Waxman refers includes this message from Webster : "Please do not email this out or let people see it. It is a close hold and we're not supposed to be emailing it around."'
The footnote in the Waxman report: ' E-mail fromJocelyn Webster, Staff Assistant, Office of Political Affairs, White House, to Tessa Truesdell, Confidential Assistant to the Administrator, General Services Administration (Jan. 19,2007) (W-02-03 10).
U S HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM
Waxman’s committee issued an interim report in June 2007, titled “INVESTIGATION OF POSSIBLE PRESIDENTIALRECORDS ACT VIOLATIONS”The Executive Summary:
· The number of White House officials given RNC e-mail accounts is higher than previously disclosed. In March 2007, White House spokesperson Dana Perino said that only a “handful of officials” had RNC e-mail accounts. In fact, at least 88 White House officials had RNC e-mail accounts.
· White House officials made extensive use of their RNC e-mail accounts. The RNC has preserved 140,216 e-mails sent or received by Karl Rove. Deputy Director of Political Affairs Scott Jennings (35,198 e-mails).
· There has been extensive destruction of the e-mails of White House officials by the RNC. Of the 88 White House officials who received RNC e-mail accounts, the RNC has preserved no e-mails for 51 officials. (T)here are major gaps in the e-mail records of the 37 White House officials for whom the RNC did preserve e-mails. The RNC has preserved only 130 e-mails sent to Mr. Rove during President Bush’s first term and no e-mails sent by Mr. Rove prior to November 2003.
The investigation found the following for Jocelyn Webster:
Emails found on the RNC servers from 6/14/2006 - 4/26/2007Emails sent: 5,296
Emails received: 4,839
In just ten months Ms. Webster used her RNC email account ten-thousand times, or approximately 50 emails per day, not counting any emails destroyed by the RNC. This is not a one off situation or an incidental use of a partisan political resource - on taxpayer time.
Ms. Webster appears to have quickly learned the value of truth in the Rove White House.
OutcomesOne might believe, with the long list of abuses uncovered by Congress, that Karl Rove and his employees in the OPA would already be indicted and serving time for their multiple violations of Federal Laws. Then again, Karl Rove, George Bush, and Dick Cheney have never been indicted for murdering hundreds of thousands of Americans, allies, and Iraqis in their illegal war in Iraq.
The standards of “human scum” Washington should not be the standards of a Wisconsin whose motto is Forward.
Scott Walker has repeatedly lied when telling us that out-of-state paid agitators are aligned against his administration.
Walker should turn his confused gaze from the Wisconsin citizens that support his recall, to the real out-of-state politicos who prop up his administration, including one of his most recent hires, Jocelyn Webster.Apparently Republicans Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani felt that it was within their values systems to hire a White House employee who had used taxpayer funded government resources to conduct political operations for Karl Rove.
That does not mean that Wisconsin taxpayers should follow the lead of East Coast politicos and fund politically appointed positions in the Walker administration for federal lawbreakers.
But then again, Scott Walker has never been concerned about his own political operations being paid for by government dollars.
Jocelyn Webster. Meet Cindy Archer. You have a lot in common. Wisconsin citizens will reject your boss, and his politics of mendacity.
|FBI raids home of former Walker aide Cindy Archer|
Reporter questions DOA about Webster's background - photo Jenna Pope
DOA Deputy Secretary responds to a reporter's questions about the rule making process and Ms. Webster's background.