Saturday, January 20th

State

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates, from left: Rebecca Dallet, Timothy Burns and Michael Screnock.(Photo: AP and submitted photos)

MADISON - State Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Dallet laid into an opponent this week for using “all this rhetoric about rule of law garbage,” prompting pushback from her rival’s campaign.

Dallet, a Milwaukee County circuit judge, took the shot at Sauk County Circuit Judge Michael Screnock at a Wednesday campaign event in Milwaukee that her campaign posted on Facebook.

"He’s talking about all this rhetoric about rule of law garbage that is basically — it’s rule of law until it’s something you want changed and then you just go ahead and change it," she said.

"He’s just saying the same tired old thing that doesn’t mean anything. Because I believe in the rule of law. But guess what my job is. I’m a judge and I do it every day. When the Legislature gets it wrong and they violate someone’s rights, it’s my job to say no.

Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of Janesville.(Photo: European Press Agency)

House Speaker Paul Ryan set a blistering fundraising pace in 2017, raising $44.7 million for the year, his campaign said Thursday.

Ryan's joint fundraising committee, Team Ryan, transferred more than $32 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee to aid House Republicans.

In the fourth quarter, Team Ryan raised nearly $5 million.

The Janesville Republican hasn't formally announced whether he'll run for another term representing the 1st Congressional district.

Randy Bryce and Cathy Myers are seeking to gain the Democratic nomination to face Ryan in the fall.

Kevin Seifert, executive director of Team Ryan, said the "eye-popping number" raised last year "is a testament to Speaker Ryan, House Republicans, and the agenda that they led the fight on in 2017."

Seifert added: "We plan to build off of this historic report, and Speaker Ryan will continue his aggressive fundraising and campaign schedule in 2018.

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Shaun Hardtke inspects and evaluates the milking operation at a large rotating automated milking parlor that collects milk at the Kinnard dairy farm, which milks more than 6,000 cows.(Photo: Rick Wood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)Buy Photo

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel’s appointment of a lawyer and former dairy industry lobbyist to lead the environmental protection unit of the Justice Department has drawn objections from the leader of a public interest law firm and concerns from a former secretary of the Department of Natural Resources.

Kimberlee Wright, executive director of Madison-based Midwest Environmental Advocates, said she is worried about potential bias by Assistant Attorney General Anna J. Wildeman in her new post because she previously represented the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association and large dairy farms.

But Justice Department spokesman Johnny Koremenos took issue with Wright’s contentions in an email.

He said the agency has taken steps to insulate Wildeman from potential conflicts, which include turning oversight of cases with legal conflicts to her deputy.

Brian Bell is the administrator of the state Ethics Commission.(Photo: Brian Bell)

MADISON - Hoping to save his job, Wisconsin's ethics director on Wednesday said he left a post in 2015 with an agency maligned by Republicans in part because he thought it was poorly run and infected with partisan bias. 

Brian Bell, the director of the state Ethics Commission, described his concerns about previously working for the now-disbanded Government Accountability Board in material he delivered Wednesday to state senators. 

Republicans in charge of the Senate have said they plan to vote Tuesday to oust Bell as well as the head of the Elections Commission. They want to remove them in part because they both previously worked for the accountability board, which conducted investigations of Republicans that they believe show that agency was biased against them. 

In his letter, Bell disparaged Shane Falk, who served as counsel to the accountability board and has been a focus of the ire of Republicans.

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Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Rebecca Dallet.(Photo: Michael Sears, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)Buy Photo

State Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Dallet was once issued a stinging rebuke by an appellate court for finding police could legally pat down a black man who was simply lingering by a convenience store for a few minutes before heading to a bus stop.

Dallet, a circuit judge in Milwaukee County, signed off on the pat-down — which turned up a handgun — after a police sergeant claimed the manlooked suspicious because he was wearing dark clothing in a high-crime neighborhood on Milwaukee's north side.

“With limited exceptions, people have a right in this country to go about their lives, to stand around, to hang out — all without having to submit to police interrogation,” wrote then-Appeals Judge Ralph Adam Fine, a conservative on law enforcement issues, in 2013. 

The case marks a split between Dallet, who is running as a moderate, and Madison attorney Tim Burns, a self-described liberal, on how to deal with questions about 4th Amendment protections from unreasonable searches.