Dirty, Unethical Wisconsin Politics
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The third of five convicted lawmakers involved in Wisconsin’s biggest political scandal was sentenced this week for his role in illegal, taxpayer-funded campaigning that also constituted a state ethics violation.
Former Assembly Majority Leader Steven Foti will serve 60 days in jail for, among other things, putting a Republican Party fundraiser named Sherry Schultz on his payroll during the 1998 and 2000 elections. Earlier this month, Foti acknowledged in court that he added Schultz to his state payroll to raise money for other Republicans and to handle his own re-election campaign.
Sentencing judge Steven Ebert called it a deceitful assault on Wisconsin government and taxpayers and slapped Foti with a sentence twice as long as the guideline.
The federal investigation into the Wisconsin fiasco was launched in 2001 and focused on illegal campaigning. Two Democrats, former Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala of Madison and former Senator Brian Burke of Milwaukee, are already serving their sentences. Two Republicans, former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen of Waukesha and former Representative Bonnie Ladwig of Racine, will be sentenced in May.
Foti currently works as a lobbyist with a $100,000 annual income. Most of the companies he represents – Miller Brewing, the Wisconsin Funeral Directors Association and the Wisconsin Society of Anesthesiologists – were campaign contributors during his political career.