Wednesday, November 9, 2011

All Roads Lead To Wisconsin

Mark Block back in the day
Is anyone surprised the whole Herman Cain campaign money scandal has it's roots in Wisconsin politics? What you didn't hear? Cain's history with the ladies is hogging all the attention - but the last nail in his campaign coffin is gonna be Mark Block...

So CREW and the Center for Media & Democracy have both called on the Federal Election Commission and the IRS to investigate a charity run by Block and alleged improper campaign contributions Prosperity USA made to the Cain campaign which by Block.

This all came to light when last week, Daniel Bice of the Journal Sentinel published several Prosperity USA financial records he obtained that show Block's "charity" paid for private jets and iPads for Cain. It looks like they also made a $100,000 contribution to the conservative Congress for Racial Equality shortly before Cain was chosen as the keynote speaker for their MLK Dinner last January.

Granted this is more complicated than considering whether or not Cain tried to touch the pretty lady's privates. Block's role provides the perfect tableau for not only understanding Cain's campaign foundation, but the nature of Koch-fueled conservative politics in Wisconsin and beyond.

Folks around here are familiar with the shady dealings of Block, a political kleptomaniac, and the various organizations he has his sticky fingers all over. Block served as Wisconsin's point-guy for the Koch-fueled Americans for Prosperity and the front organizations they developed to give the impression of a grassroots conservative movement - which is actually a con-game to fund and promote candidates like Scott Walker and Herman Cain and legislation that enhances the Koch corporate climate.

Block came to fame as the youngest person ever elected  to a Wisconsin County Board of Supervisors, and gained infamy as the guy charged with election fraud, fined the largest amount in Wisconsin history and was barred from Wisconsin politics for three years.

Block laid low for a couple of years only to find his true calling as the Wisconsin Director for Americans for Prosperity.

Under Block's leadership, AFP in Wisconsin developed and funded a network of "tea party" groups (including the Racine Tea Party) designed to look like populist outposts - convincing only if one didn't focus on who paid for the coach buses, sound systems and jumbo-trons at their old fashioned people powered jamborees.

Block is credited with assisting the jump-start of a number of "independent" Wisconsin organizations all apparently funded with seed money traced to the illustrious Kochotopus: The MacIver Institute (Block is still on the Executive Board), The Wisconsin Prosperity Network, Prosperity USA and a host of other groups with defunct web addresses.

For his part, Cain worked for the AFP candidate farm team which is how he met Block. Before long, Block was escorting Cain around the state even bringing him to Racine, plotting his triumphant return to politics which we can now all behold in it's cigarette smoking glory.

While at AFP, Block couldn't play it straight for long and got caught in a voter caging scandal in late 2010 along with the Wisconsin GOP and various teabilly puppets. No matter, Block had already hitched his wagon to a star leaving new State Director, Matt Seaholm and SE Wisconsin organizer, Nancy Milholland to carry on the election fraud antics. Seaholm got caught sending out absentee ballots to recall voters with the wrong return deadline and a PO box traced to Wisconsin Right To Life and Milholland is actively recruiting shills to serve as poll workers in the 2012 elections.

The beat goes on.