Thursday, January 19, 2006

Falk Given Prime Spot at the Trough

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk found a cash machine today. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees will be supporting Falk’s bid to defeat incumbent Peg Lautenschlager in the Democratic Primary for State Attorney General.
AFSCME: PEOPLE Conference Endorses Falk for Attorney General: The Wisconsin PEOPLE Conference is the political arm of AFSCME Councils 40 and 48. These Councils represent more than 40,000 public service and health care workers in every county in Wisconsin. AFSCME is the nation’s largest public employee union, with more than 1.4 million members nationwide. The union devotes significant resources to political action, making its PEOPLE Conference a major player in national, state and local politics.
The significance of this endorsement is that it comes from the political action committee of the massive public employee union. A quick search through The Institute On Money In State Politics data base shows that in the 2004 election cycle, the PAC was in the top tier of donors to individual Wisconsin Candidates, with 97.55% going to Democrats. Sorting AFSCME cash grants by size, the top three awards go to Doyle, Doyle and Doyle.
Wisconsin 2004 – Top 20 Contributors to Candidates:
Wisconsin PEOPLE conference AFSCME 40 & 48: Sorted by Dollar Amount
Doyle, Jim, Governor, Democrat, WI received $10,000 on 05/27/2004
Doyle, Jim, Governor, Democrat, WI received $5,000 on 08/14/2003
Doyle, Jim, Governor, Democrat, WI received $5,000 on 02/14/2003
This is a nice haul, especially since there was no election for Governor in 2004. It looks like Falk’s decision to award the Governors wife the Martin Luther King Jr. award last week is going to have a nice return on investment. What I didn’t realize until today, however, was that the AFSCME money machine and the unionization of public service all began here in Capital City.
AFSCME History In 1932, as the country suffered through the worst economic depression in its history, a small group of white-collar, professional state employees met in Madison, Wisconsin. They formed the Wisconsin State Administrative, Clerical, Fiscal and Technical Employees Association (which soon became the Wisconsin State Employees Association).

The leader of the group, Col. A.E. Garey, was the director of the state Civil Service system, and the reason for the group's creation was simple: basic survival. Wisconsin state employees held their jobs based on competitive civil service examinations and there was genuine fear that state politicians might attempt to return to a political patronage, or "spoils" system. … In the November, 1932 elections, Democrats in Wisconsin rode Franklin D. Roosevelt's coattails into office. And sure enough, in January, 1933 a Democratic senator introduced a bill in the state legislature that would dismantle the state's civil service system. ...

The desire for collective bargaining became AFSCME's driving force. … In 1961, President John Kennedy issued Executive Order 10988, which legitimized collective bargaining for federal employees and helped create a favorable atmosphere for similar demands from all public employees.
The rest, as they say, is history. Taxpayer paid public service solidified into permanent and protected jobs. Having abolished the patronage threat after elective leadership changes, the union membership settled into the safe comfort of good enough for government work. Now Kathleen Falk has been given a prime spot at the trough for the siphoned off tax dollars.

HT The Triumvirate who today announced their succession plans: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager.