Thursday, September 21, 2006

Rising Star: Attorney Maistelman

Thanks to Wisconsin’s Freedom of Information Act, Attorney Michael S. Maistelman, working for the re-election campaign of incumbent Democratic Governor Jim Doyle is caught in writing, encouraging three Democratic appointees to the State Election Board to rule against Republican challenger Mark Green’s right to use all of his legal campaign funds. It is an example of pure political hardball that would have made Lyndon Johnson proud.

Badger Blogger has a collection of the local reaction and Red State picks up the story nationally with a good review of the wildly partisan election board decision that started this story.

In early January 2005 Congressman Mark Green transferred money from his congressional campaign committee account to his gubernatorial committee. This had been previously allowed by the Wisconsin State Election Board … However, after Green made his transfer the Board, dominated by Democrats, passed Emergency Rule ElBd 1.395 on January 29, 2005. The rule applied retroactively to prohibit Green from spending the money.

Yesterday, the Board, on a party-line vote, demanded that Green disgorge the cash. They did so in spite of a well-reasoned memorandum from its Counsel, George Dunst, arguing that the rule could not apply to Green.

Attorney Maistelman, with the expressed approval of the Doyle campaign, urges the board to apply their brand new law retroactively specifically to gain political advantage. This is the same Attorney Maistelman that in today’s Journal Times argues the City of Racine has absolutely no right to apply an ordinance retroactively against his client.

Attorney Mike Maistelman: However, Maistelman said the key issue was that Jackson had already applied for his license and the city had no right to change the rules for him midstream. "You can't make us jump through hoops that don't exist," Maistelman said. He compared it to someone who applies for a dog license. The city would have no right to then decide not to grant licenses for that particular dog breed.

There is a school of thought that a good lawyer says what he is paid to say regardless of truth, justice, laws or logical consistency. It is probably this total lack of internal principles that earn Maistelman one of Campaign & Elections Rising Stars 2005 awards, and his prominent place in the Jim Doyle inner circle. Pay to play and paid to say are clearly quite compatible.