A couple of weeks ago, I introduced the gentle reader to Milwaukee County Supervisor Deanna Alexander, a "rising" star among the Republicans. Alexander had gotten herself in a bit of trouble for using taxpayer dollars to help suppress the vote in Milwaukee. To make matters worse for herself, she got caught up in her lies about it.
Now Alexander is in even more hot water.
Unfortunately, her father passed away recently. And as anyone who has lost a loved one knows, funerals are expensive, even if you are making more than $50,000 a year like Alexander is.
So Alexander set up a fundraising account through www.youcaring.com.
She's already raised over $2,000, many donations from anonymous donors, including one for $1,000:
Yeah, that's an ethics problem, as Georgia Pabst of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:
According to the county ethics code: "No county public official or employee shall use his/her public position or office to obtain financial gain or anything of substantial value for the private benefit of himself/herself or his/her immediate family, or for an organization with which he/she is associated."
Michael Maistelman, a lawyer who specializes in election law and who has represented the campaigns of prominent Democrats, said it appears Alexander is using her position for private gain.
"The question is would she be getting donations if she were not an elected public official," he said. "Would donations be made, or are they being made, because of who she is and her position."
With campaign contributions, contributors must give their name, address, employer and report the amount to make sure there's transparency, he said. Candidates must periodically file campaign finance reports that make that information public.
With an anonymous contribution, he said, someone could legitimately question whether there has been a violation of the public trust. That donor could be trying to get something from the county, but you don't know, Maistelman said.
To make this whole sordid affair even more sickening, she is using her office to raise funds for her father's funeral even as she voted to deny funding for indigent burials. (Over 300 families in Milwaukee County use indigent burial funds every year.)
As with most Republicans, she figures that as long she gets hers, that's all that matters and the screw the poor if they think they should get any type of help.
"The law is clear and must be enforced," said Scot Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now, in filing the complaint. "No elected official can use their status to raise personal funds, regardless of the circumstances."
Any anonymous gifts through the YouCaring.com site would make it difficult for the public to know who may be giving to Alexander and to determine if individuals with business before the county may be attempting to influence her, the complaint states.