Sunday, May 4, 2008

Wisconsin has a "Zero Tolerance" policy for Corrupt Politicians

There are a number of respected grassroots organizations across America and other nations that work hard to ensure that elected officials remain accountable to the voters who elect them.

For example, "The Civic Federation of Chicago, one of the oldest taxpayers' watchdog groups in the United States, had its beginnings in an 1893 meeting of Chicago citizens who were concerned about vice and political corruption in the city. By 1920, the Civic Federation focused its efforts on monitoring the budgets and tax structures of Chicago's governing bodies and has continued to do so in a strictly non-partisan manner up to the present day. Over the years, the Civic Federation has issued numerous reports and bulletins on issues concerning the operation of the city and has earned recognition from area legislatures and media." (DePaul University Library

In Jersey City, Citizen's Campaign author Ken Thorbourne writes, "Jersey City might be a "Destination City" for the up and coming. But when it comes to regular citizens playing a role in government, it's still a backwater town, according to a survey released this week by two watchdog groups. According to the survey by the Citizens' Campaign and Civic JC, Jersey City measured up well in four of 16 categories examined in assessing the city's civic health, but fell short in three other areas, and failed to address nine other components." (Citizen's Campaign - February 2008

In Poland, concerned citizens created an anti-corruption program that "initiated the formation of a network of local civic groups to monitor the activity of the authorities and to organize educational campaign for a greater transparency of public life. Each year, we train a group of community leaders to monitor government policies and practices and advocate a greater transparency in public life."

In New York, citizens have founded Center for Government Research

In other words, citizens have been forming citizen watch dog groups to monitor and report the activities of elected and government officials for decades.

Today, we are going to take a look at an Organization called CRG Network with headquarters located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

CRG is a grassroots organization that was formed by local business owners to fight political corruption throughout the state of Wisconsin. I'm writing about this organization, because I've heard rumors that a CRG Network is forming here in Whatcom County.

The following material is excerpted from the CRG website in Wisconsin. I recommend that you review it. The website administrator has done a terrific job outlining the mission and goals of the organization and the material is fun to read. To date, CRG has a 20/20 recall election success rate.

What Are the Goals of CRG Network?

A CRG Network has four goals.
1. Educate citizens on how to successfully engage and manage their government.
2. Motivate fiscal conservatives to vote in increasingly larger numbers.
3. Organize fiscal conservatives into the most influential political force in Wisconsin.
4. Encourage fiscal conservatives to contribute the human and financial resources needed to grow and be successful.

Why Choose CRG Network?

CRG Network is your best choice to help gain control over Wisconsin politics for the following reasons.

CRG Network is an ACTION group. Our primary goal is not to write whitepapers or issue reports. We help create tangible pressure on politicians to respect taxpayers, property owners, and average citizens. We have given citizens the tools to hold more politicians accountable than any other group in Wisconsin history.

CRG Network is administered by political, financial, legal, and technology professionals dedicated to saving Wisconsin from a downward slide brought on by politicians more interested in personal and party power than in responsibly representing citizens. We are not tax fanatics, philosophers, or academic ideologists. We are business-oriented professionals with a serious passion for the state we call home.

CRG Network has a track record of success unequalled in Wisconsin. We do not just think we can do what we say, we have proven that we can.

List of Citizens Victories with CRG Network HelpCRG has developed a reputation for success. Here is a partial list (it grows constantly) of politicians held accountable and issues won by average citizens with CRG Network help.

State Senate Majority Leader Mary Panzer
Panzer was the most powerful state politician behind the Governor. She was voted out of office by an overwhelming 4 to 1 margin because of her refusal to schedule a vote on the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. CRG Network PAC provided the Grothman campaign with a full-featured website with on-line donation capability that raised thousands of dollars, over-sized signage, volunteers, and political consulting.

State Assistant Senate Majority Leader Mary Lazich
Lazich lied to constituents when asked whether she voted for the pro-taxpayer majority leader. CRG Network did an investigational poll that revealed at least one senator lied about their vote and Lazich was forced to confess to her lie when CRG pushed for a re-vote.
She subsequently resigned the leadership post she was promised in return for her vote under continued CRG Network pressure.

Milwaukee County Executive F. Thomas Ament
Tom Ament was arguably the most powerful politician in SE Wisconsin having achieved "boss" status in Milwaukee County. Ament resigned after facing recall when CRG collected 182,000 signatures (110,000 more than needed) in 30 days (half the allotted time) for his role in perpetrating a pension fraud that paid millions ($120 million and counting) in lump sum retirement payments and other benefits to county employees.

Milwaukee County Board Chairman Karen Ordinans
Ordinans was recalled and replaced in a special election for her part in approving and passing the Ament pension plan. Think your vote doesn't count? Ordinans lost the recall election by only three votes.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Kathleen Arciszewski
Arciszewski was Ament's hand-picked replacement for Supervisor Robert Krug when he started asking too many embarrassing questions about the fraudulent pension plan. Krug had been the county board representative on the Personnel Committee which had partial oversight of the pension deal. An ardent supporter of Ament, Arciszewski was recalled and easily defeated in a special election.

Milwaukee County Supervisor David Jasenski
Recalled and removed by special election.

Milwaukee County Supervisor LeAnn Launstein
Recalled and removed by special election.

Milwaukee County Supervisor James McGuigan
Recalled and removed by special election. McGuigan attempted to return to the County Board by campaigning in the next regularly scheduled election but was defeated again this time by a different candidate when the incumbent who originally replaced him retired from politics. McGuigan had the audacity to claim that the fraudulent pension benefits were owed to him and refused to sign the pension waiver signed by all other county supervisors.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Penny Podell
Recalled and removed by special election. Podell was recalled after mounting a failed legal maneuver to have recall petition signatures invalidated.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Linda Ryan
Recalled and removed by special election.

Franklin Alderman Basil Ryan (no relation to Linda)
Recalled and removed by special election.

Wauwatosa Alderman Mary Heins
Recalled and removed by special election. CRG provided public relations, publicity, and petition circulation assistance to an extremely well-organized effort spearheaded by former CRG board of director member Stan Zurawski, Sr..

Waukesha School Board Member Roger Danielsen
During the fight against a major Waukesha School Referendum, Danielsen used his position of authority to leak personal information about a Waukesha School District student, and daughter of a local organizer, to the press. Danielson resigned within 24 hours of a press release from CRG Network calling for his resignation or face recall.

Pewaukee Mayor Jeff Nowak
Recalled and removed by special election on the primary ballot when one of two recall opponents received over 50% of the vote. The incumbent mayor received only 12%. CRG Network helped with many aspects of the recall including the legal challenge to the petition signatures.

Kewaskum School Board Member Neal Weare
Recalled and removed by special election. CRG Network helped with many aspects of the recall including the legal challenge to the petition signatures.

PabstCity TIF District
CRG Network coordinated a grassroots effort with the aid of local businesses and historic preservationists to defeat legislation to create the $79 million (principal and interest) PabstCity TIF District. The TIF was viewed as as a risky venture that was little more than corporate welfare with little long term benefit to the City of Milwaukee. CRG Networked targeted 4 aldermanic district with a literature and phone campaign that ultimately influenced two alderman to change their votes and defeat the project.

Fond du Lac Water Treatment Proposal
Local politicians were looking to build an unneeded water treatment facility at a cost of $50 million dollars. CRG Network worked closely with local organizers to reverse a council decision to proceed with the project.

Waukesha School Referendum
CRG Network provided extensive educational and technical assistance in successfully defeating a referendum which would have raised taxes over $5 million dollars per year for a four year period. The referendum was heavily supported by the local school board and teachers union who brought significant financial and volunteer pressure to pass the referendum.

Send me an e-mail if you are interested in receiving additional information about the CRG Organization.

I have a copy of one of the PowerPoint modules that is used to train CRG Recall Volunteers and I can assure you, this group has not only done it's homework, but is a "force" to be reckoned with.

I'll buy a cup of coffee for the individual who can guess which grass roots organizer is considering starting a chapter of this organization in Whatcom County. (Here's a hint, it's NOT being organized by the CONSERVATIVES or, "the GOP").


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