Kenneth Chesebro, one of the architects of the fraudulent elector scheme that attempted to illegally overturn the 2020 presidential election, apparently ran cross country at SPASH, which is the perennially-cool acronym for my alma mater and stands for Stevens Point Area Senior High.
How do I know this? One of my best friends, Kevin Hopp, is a current assistant coach for the team, and he passed this message on to me from revered head coach Donn Behnke while passing through Minocqua on his way to his family's annual camping trip.
"Did he run with us?" I asked, because I too was on that cross country team.
"No, he was older than us, but Donn remembers him. He thought you'd want to know because of your lawsuit trying to knock Ron Johnson, Tom Tiffany, and Scott Fitzgerald off the ballot for aiding the insurrection."
I had this conversation with Kevin two summers ago, soon after Federal Court Judge Adelman in Wisconsin's Eastern District ruled that our plaintiffs didn't have standing to file this lawsuit. My lawyers and I always knew that bringing an article 3/14th amendment civil suit against these three political conspirators was risky, because we were merely concerned citizens, not law enforcement officers. What SHOULD have happened two years ago was that Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul SHOULD have filed a CRIMINAL (as opposed to civil) lawsuit to remove these guys from the ballot. The head law enforcement officer of Wisconsin, of course, had the "standing" that we lacked to bring these charges.
But for reasons I think I understand but will never accept, he sat on his hands.
Last Friday, The Milwaukee Journal reported that Keneth Chesebro was cooperating with a Wisconsin investigation into the fake elector scheme to illegally hand Trump the presidency, as well as with other investigations in at least four other states.
Is it possible that Attorney General Kaul is behind this investigation and FINALLY doing something to hold these insurrectionists accountable? If so, is this investigation a little too late, given that the presidential election is less than a year away and Donald Trump, being the presumptive nominee, might win that election, and with it, the power to pardon these insurrectionists before a criminal verdict can be reached?
I told the Chesebro/Stevens Point story to my mom last night during our weekly phone call, and she actually remembers a Chesebro--she thinks it was Kenneth's dad--who played in the dixieland jazz band in Steven Point's Pfiffner Park each summer.
"I think his dad might have been a lawyer as well, and I wouldn't forget a name like Chesebro."
Days before it was announced that Chesebro was cooperating with investigators, news broke that the 10 Wisconsin fake electors being sued in a civil case by the liberal lawyers at "Law Forward" settled out of court.
I know the folks at Law Forward, and while I was initially furious that it appeared that, yet again, Democrats were letting insurrectionists off the hook, I'm glad I held my tongue and didn't criticize them immediately.
Law Forward settled out of court with the 10 fraudulent electors, but they did NOT settle out of court with Chesebro and Jim Troupis, a former Dane County judge who served as legal counsel for the Trump Campaign and helped orchestrate the fake elector scheme.
I believe that these 10 electors may still face criminal prosecution in whatever "investigation" Chesebro's is cooperating with. I hope they do, because at least one of them, Bob Spindell, currently serves on the Wisconsin Election Commission that plays a large roll in ensuring that our elections are run fairly. There's NO WAY IN HELL this guy should still serve on that commission after admitting in a settlement that he, knowingly or unknowingly, assisted in an attempted presidential coup.
I've held my criticism of Law Forward at bay because the ultimate goal here should be to punish the leaders of this conspiracy, not the lemmings who helped them carry it out. I do believe these fake electors, or Republican lemmings, were merely doing what they were told to do, albeit probably a bit too willingly and gleefully.
No, any criminal case shouldn't start with these lemmings, but should really start with Wisconsin's fake elector architects, Chesebro and Troupis.
But--and this is a big BUT--a criminal case to hold Wisconsin's insurrectionists accountable should NOT STOP with them.
This investigation must go all the way to the top, and while on that elevator of justice to FINALLY HOLD TRUMP accountable, any future case must also include the Republican politicians who were part of the conspiracy to overturn the election--Senator Ron Johnson and Representatives Scott Fitzgerald and Tom Tiffany.
The Milwaukee Journal Editorial Board, employed by local newspaper destroyers Gannett Corp, who have a history of gutting journalistic benches to improve profit margins, are anything BUT courageous journalists. They aren't paid enough to be.
However, even these guys took a potentially career-ending risk and wrote an editorial on January 7th, the day after the insurrection, calling for Ron Johnson, Scott Fitzgerald, and Tom Tiffany to resign or be expelled for siding with Trump against our Republic.
Because Fitzgerald and Tiffany, with no evidence of malfeasance, voted to reject the electoral votes of Arizona and Pennsylvania, which would have overturned the election, JUST HOURS AFTER a band of rioters roused by Trump stormed the capital.
And why Johnson?
Because while he flipped his vote at the last minute just after the Jan. 6 riot, he AMPLIFIED Trump's lies that the election was rigged, which fanned the flames of violence and gave cover to those Republican lemmings that met in the Capitol and illegally forged their names as Wisconsin "Electors."
In the 80 page complaint that we filed in our failed lawsuit to remove Johnson, Fitzgerald, and Tiffany from the ballot using article 3 of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution--a complaint that I fear very few in the news media actually read--my lawyers spelled out in agonizing detail the coordination between Chesebro and Troupis' fraudulent elector scheme and the PUBLIC EFFORTS TO AMPLIFY TRUMP'S LIES by Johnson, Tiffany, and Fitzgerald.
Here is a quote from that complaint filed on March 10 2022:
- "Unfortunately, Defendants and their fellow Trump acolytes were not just telling lies about the election results and voting processes in Wisconsin and elsewhere. While they were spreading their malicious falsehoods about a “rigged election” through regular and social media and at public appearances, Johnson, Tiffany, Fitzgerald, President Trump, and many others identified in this Complaint or still unknown to the public and the Plaintiffs were also engaged in a conspiracy whose illegal objective was to hijack the Joint Session on January 6, 2021 in order to permit the presentation of knowingly false and fraudulent slates of electors to the President of the Senate (Vice President Pence), the Senate, and the House of Representatives."
What many of you read in the papers last week concerning Chesebro and Troupis was part and parcel of our federal lawsuit filed a year ago--all which is still as true today as it was then. The difference between then and now is that in order to expel Johnson, Fitzgerald, and Tiffany, we needed a Wisconsin Attorney General or U.S. Attorney General to have enough courage to do the right thing with enough time to get it through the courts before the election in 2022 in which all 3 of these candidates were on the ballot.
Unfortunately, we didn't have individuals in those two positions with enough courage to do what was right, partially because one of them was up for re-election himself and probably didn't want to upset any potential (and probably non-existent) swing voters.
But now, without an election coming up, it seems likely that AG Kaul has at least started an investigation into the Wisconsinites who played a role in the attempted insurrection.
So what happens when you don't expel politicians who choose Trump over our republic?
You of course get the same behavior.
A little over a week ago, Fitzgerald and Tiffany voted to NOT EXPEL George Santos, whose corruption and lies were so damming that almost half of the Republicans in the House agreed with Democrats and voted for expulsion. Note that freshman Republican Congressman, Derek Van Orden, a retired Navy Seal who was pictured PARTICIPATING in the January 6 insurrection, also sided with the Wisconsin members of the sedition caucus.
Because they weren't held accountable years ago, the very same Congressmen who sided with Trump over our republic voted for power over principal.
The moral of this story is that it is abundantly clear that America has entered a new age where in order to preserve our Democratic institutions, those who lead them must have courage.
If our Democratic politicians were strong in Wisconsin and strong within the US, Trump would have been held accountable by now and those Republican politicians who helped him almost pull off a presidential coup would have been expelled from Congress.
This new perilous American age calls for political courage, and so many of our politicians on both sides of the aisle lack that basic courage needed to PUT THEIR SHOULDERS INTO IT and LEAN IN WITH ALL THEIR MIGHT to do what is right at the right time to keep America on the rails.
The Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC, along with our courageous plaintiffs Nancy Stencil, Dan Russler, Lisa Meuller, Cheryl Maranto, Gerry Lisi, Jim Kurz, Margaret DeMuth, Paul DeMain, Jim Botsford, and Richard Bechen, tried to cover for our politicians in March of 2022. Unfortunately, between a bunch of rural activists and a gosh darn brewery, trying to lead that lawsuit was like trying to put a square peg into a round hole. Unfortunately, sometimes politicians and judges are the only ones who can do the job of saving democracy.
But at the end of the day, we're only going to get the politicians who have the mettle to do big things if we DEMAND them. Hopefully, our collective activism and calls for courage will reach the ears of those ready to run for office and lead not with cynical self-service, but with the courage and strength that this new American age demands.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for sticking with the Minocqua Brewing Company.
Together, we will make Wisconsin's democracy, and by extension America's, strong again--one beer at a time.
Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company
Founder, Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC