Friday, September 6, 2013

The Americans for Prosperity/Teabilly Catfish Scheme

Do you know what "catfishing" is?

"Catfishing" is creating a false identity on Facebook or other social media and posing as someone else. Like being a 50 year old dude who pretends to be 16 year old girl to flirt with 16 year old boys.

Catfishing is a thing. Just ask Manti T'eo.

Much has been written over the last week about the bogus $500,000 state grant given to the phantom group, United Sportsmen of Wisconsin. After is was discovered that they weren't registered as a non-profit, had ties to Scott Suder's staff, never allowed anyone else to apply for the grant...Scott Walker had to cancel the grant.

Drat! He and Cathy Stepp hate to get caught stealing like that, so they took out their annoyance on George Meyer's group, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, by cancelling their contract to run the Poynette environmental educational center on the same day. Meyer's work had saved the state money, increased visitors and generally done a great job.

Payback is a bitch...named Cathy Stepp, apparently.

Anyway, Walker looks like a crook (again) - and it doesn't help that his administration had to also announce they were getting a refund on Capitol Chief Erwin's illegal pay raise. It's been a bad week.

Well, some libertarian types who pal around with teabilly types who pal around with Americans for Prosperity types (it's a very small bed and very well may be the source for the bed bug outbreak in Wisconsin) know enough of the players named in this $500,000 grant to be kinda pissed off about it.

See, Luke Hilgemann, who was the state director for Americans for Prosperity - but apparently has moved out of state to be at AFP's national office, was also the previous chief of staff for Wisconsin State Assembly (Suder). Hilgemann is also listed as one of United Sportsmen's "educators." A job, we imagine, he would get paid to do....however, it's a bit of a commute from Virginia.

United Sportsmen of WI didn't even exist until shortly before the recall election - can you guess who they supported for Governor? They have also pulled some tricky election stuff - but that's not the catfish - that's business as usual. In their grant application:
"$370,000 will be spent on staff salaries and $20,000 on staff benefits, plus $56,000 on consultants, the Journal-Sentinel reports."
Not bad - and the boys over at Koch industries don't have to shell out the money for salaries - Wisconsin taxpayers will do it for them. Nice!

Well that bit of sunshine has a few tea types - who actually do care about how public money is spent to get a little...tea'd off. (Pun intended.)

One such guy is local Libertarian, Michael Murphy, who called them out on Facebook.

This caused local Americans for Prosperity employee, Nancy Milholland to get all defensive. Milholland claims no tea party groups were involved in the ruse - ironic since she's the founder of the Racine Tea Party and knows Hilgemann quite well.

Murphy was having none of it - he discovered the sweet 16 year old girl (United Sportsman of WI) was really a sweaty 50 year old dude (Americans for Prosperity). Catfished.

It's not much of a story that the Koch brothers franchise in Wisconsin tried to cheat and steal money from taxpayers - the real story is how so many of of their followers are truly beginning to see them for what they are.