The new issue: The Greater Wisconsin Committee placed a TV ad late last week that attacks Prosser for his handling — as Outagamie County district attorney — of 1978 sexual assault allegations of two Freedom-area boys against the Rev. John Feeney.
The ad overlooks the lack of evidence Prosser had in the late 1970s, incorrectly suggests Prosser was aware of Feeney's 30-year pattern of abuse in Wisconsin parishes, and incorrectly suggests that Prosser worked with diocesan leaders to have Feeney moved to another parish.
Lack of evidence, perhaps... but what kind of DA helps get a suspect moved out of the district -- especially given the consequences?
Nonetheless, there's more:
But here's something else that might have been missed amid Wisconsin's recent political ugliness. In 2006, Prosser said that while he was a legislative leader, staffers who worked under his direction did campaign work. He also acknowledged that in his interview with The P-C on March 18.
Here's a member of the highest court in Wisconsin, whose judges are expected to possess unimpeachable integrity, admitting he condoned illegal activity as an elected official.
In a brief filed by the attorney of former state Rep. Scott Jensen, a Prosser protege who was charged with three felony counts of misconduct in office (in a December 2010 plea deal, Jensen pleaded no-contest to a misdemeanor charge), Prosser said he basically did the same thing that caused Jensen to be charged.
In the brief, after outlining how his leadership role involved getting more Republicans elected to the Assembly, Prosser said:
"During my term as a legislator and as a speaker, there were caucus members and caucus directors who participated in activities including but not limited to the following: Campaign and political meetings in the Capitol office; assisting the speaker and the elected leadership by recruiting candidates; gathering voting lists and target lists; setting up, attending and staffing fundraisers; and assisting legislators in creating and implementing office plans."
Prosser's statement was presented in Jensen's defense. He's saying, as others said, that's the way business is done in Madison. That's what Jensen's job was about, too.
It's illegal. It was illegal when Prosser was in charge and it was illegal when Jensen was in charge.
In his statement, Prosser saw it differently. He said, "Every activity that could be characterized as a campaign activity can be conceivably construed to be an act that furthers the legislative process."
So, campaigns and legislative work are so intertwined that it's all part of the same process.
As a taxpayer, what do you think? Should your tax dollars, which were used to fund the caucuses until they were disbanded in the wake of a scandal, have gone toward campaigning?
Only someone who works — or worked — in the Capitol would think taxpayers would go for that.
Again, it was against the law. You'd think Prosser would acknowledge that, even if he didn't agree. But he told The P-C that "it was a different era and public expectations were quite different."
Prosser said that the law "had never been interpreted that way."
So, what do we do? Let bygones be bygones?
We can't. The Post-Crescent endorses JoAnne Kloppenburg
Prosser, like so many of his other arrogantly hard-right comrades, doesn't seem to believe the law applies to him. Not the sort of thing to recommend yet another term as a Supreme Court Justice.