Another Walker antagonist is enveloped in controversy for filing a false campaign finance report. County Supervisor Toni Clark was charged today with a felony, to which she is expected to plead guilty. The felony is punishable by a maximum 3.5 years in prison and possibly a $10,000 fine.
Apparently, Clark diverted $6,545 in campaign contributions for her personal use, which might involve a gambling problem. She also lied about an illegal loan she had received and filed an amended campaign report in order to conceal its illegitimacy. In 2005, she deposited campaign donations into a personal bank account. And in 2007, she opened up a new account and deposited $2,500 in campaign contributions without the knowledge or consent of her campaign manager and the election commission. A month later, Clark withdrew and deposited the funds into her personal account.
As an aside, this is the same woman who used nearly $5,000 of taxpayer money to see Obama's Inauguration in January of 2009. And only after she was discovered, did she offer reimbursement to the county for her trip.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of arrogance in government. It's just part of the game, and we've learned to accept that politicians are dirty. After years in office, those elected by the people sometimes feel a sense of entitlement and power - as if they are above the restraints of common law. A good example of this elitism is when Toni Clark and Elizabeth Coggs deliberately tried to dupe the taxpayers with a trip to D.C.
First, they told Terrence Cooley, Holloway's Chief of Staff, that they were going to visit Representative Gwen Moore and County lobbyists, but neglected to mention that their expensive hotel ($644 a night) was rented to see a newly elected Obama give a history-making acceptance speech. If the trip was legitimate, why not mention that they planned to hear the President speak? (To be clear, only Clarke stayed at the hotel since Coggs stayed with relatives in D.C.)
Second, after they had returned, Clarke and Coggs evaded Milwaukee Journal reporter Daniel Bice when he started poking around their business. When asked about her trip, Toni Clark cut the interview short, and Elizabeth Coggs refused to return calls. If the trip was legitimate, then why avoid reporters?
And third, it's difficult to believe that Holloway didn't know the primary motive of why Clark and Coggs went to D.C. Holloway's chief of staff had realized at the time that their trip coincided with the Presidential Inauguration, but refused to speculate whether the trip was plotted for that purpose.
Even Cogg's cousin, Senator Spenser Coggs, couldn't answer why his cousin chose a time of dense traffic when hotel costs were inflated to to $700 a day in order to plan a trip to visit lobbyists in D.C. It didn't make much sense to him, but it makes perfect sense to me that they were willing to hang taxpayers on the hook in order to see the man they had helped vote into office.
Ultimately, Clark will lose her job as a Milwaukee County Supervisor when she is sentenced. In my opinion, it is just one less dirty politician that will remain among the Milwaukee ranks and one less rubber stamp to be used against Scott Walker.