I'm guessing you’re all still fired up from the pro-choice marches yesterday, and so am I, but I’m equally excited to update you on our lawsuit aiming to disqualify U.S. Senator Ron Johnson and Representatives Tom Tiffany and Scott Fitzgerald from running for office because they aided and abetted the January 6 insurrection.
This post is gonna be long, and I’m gonna ask for money at the end of it, but I promise it’s worth reading.
First of all, I want to highlight that we’ve asked the New York Times and many other state and national news organizations to write more about this case, not only because we truly believe we can win, but because we need the publicity to help pay for the damn thing!
While this case has hit regional news outlets and an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune, you probably haven’t read that much about “Stencil v. Johnson” because the big newspapers have seemingly chosen to sit on their hands, probably thinking our case is likely to get dismissed and most likely concluding that we’re a bunch of naïve cheeseheads “tilting at windmills.”
Well, this is not the first time nor the last that Wisconsin has been underestimated. Ask Hilary Clinton…or the 2021 Phoenix Suns:)
We think we can win this case, and I’ll tell you why in a second, but here’s why the national news outlets think we’re gonna lose.
A similar case against the infamous Marjorie Taylor Greene lost, another similar case against a bunch of Arizona congressmen was dismissed, and the first case against North Carolina’s Madison Cawthorn, the one that gave us the idea to sue, was initially dismissed but is currently on appeal.
The batting average for “Disqualification Clause” lawsuits isn’t great thus far, but we believe our case is different from the ones that weren’t successful in some REALLY MEANINGFUL ways…
With all due respect to the group (Free Speech for People) who initiated all of these previous lawsuits—we believe that their suits failed because they AIMED TOO LOW.
Here’s what I mean.
First, they sued at the state level in Republican states where they had virtually no chance at winning. In Marjorie Taylor Greene’s case, for example, the ultimate decision on whether to drop her from the ballot fell on Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. It would have been political suicide for him to take a fellow Republican off the ballot, regardless of the merits of the case.
Second, all three of these other lawsuits focused solely on the days immediately leading up to the insurrection, when these politicians were giving incendiary speeches and sneaky tours of the capitol to those that ultimately engaged in violence. While these activities were pretty damning, the suits didn’t capture the depth of what was really going on—which was a GRAND CONSPIRACY involving Trump, his enablers, and a HOST OF POLITICIANS who were required to tell the BIG LIE in order to pull off a presidential coup.
Like I’ve said in previous posts, the bigger the bank heist, the more players you need—not just the guys in the bank holding guns on the bank tellers, but also the guy driving the getaway car and the guy scoping the place out ahead of time to pick the best moment to attack.
Similarly, if you want to pull off the BIGGEST CRIME our nation has ever seen, like illegally overturning the results of a presidential election, you need a LOT OF CRIMINALS to pull it off! And the ONE JOB in this attempted heist that needed the most players in order to succeed was the one that confused the electorate into accepting a presidential coup by retelling the "Big Lie" that the election was rigged, setting the stage to intimidate Vice President Pence when he counted the electoral votes.
Our case TELLS THIS WHOLE STORY, and makes it clear how close we came to losing the bedrock of our democracy—a peaceful transfer of power—and explains clearly how Ron Johnson, Tom Tiffany, and Scott Fitzgerald were part of this GRAND CONSPIRACY.
So why will our case succeed where the others have failed? I believe we will win simply because we’ve told the truth, soup to nuts, and a judge will realize that it is too dangerous for our country to dismiss this case.
As of last Friday, we reached a milestone where our lawyers submitted their final arguments to get past the defense’s motion to dismiss. Our lawsuit’s fate is now in a federal judge’s hands.
The filing was massive and full of lawyer-speak, but here are the most compelling arguments we used that will hopefully convince the judge keep to this lawsuit going.
First, we argued right off the bat that Ron Johnson's lawyers can’t use “free speech” as a reason to dismiss this case. While he was attacking the election results in nationally-televised hearings, Johnson admitted to former Brown County Republican Chairman Mark Becker that he knew Biden had won. Since Johnson knew his attacks on the election were lies, he’s not protected under the First Amendment.
Next, the defense said that the U.S. Constitution gives ONLY CONGRESS the right to remove its members for insurrection, not the plaintiffs in our case. We argued that we’re not trying to remove these guys from office. We’re just trying to remove them from the 2022 election ballot because they committed perjury when they recently signed their Declaration of Candidacy promising that they were qualified to run for office. Why perjury? Because if you’re an insurrectionist, you’re not “qualified” to run for federal office.
Finally, the defense said that our plaintiffs didn’t have “standing” to sue, because they weren’t harmed any more than any other Wisconsin voter, and that to prove “standing” in a case like this you need show a more “personal” type of harm. They went even further to discredit our plaintiffs by calling them part of a political “stunt."
Well our plaintiffs, many of whom have worked like hell to make Wisconsin a better place to live for much of their lives, took PARTICULAR OFFENSE to those accusations and wrote affidavits explaining how they were individually harmed by the insurrection and the "Big Lie" that fomented it.
Here are a few compelling quotes from our plaintiffs:
“I believe in the clean-handed integrity of our Constitution. I believe it is at risk as a result of the attempts to steal the last presidential election. I believe those persons involved include our Defendants, and that if they are not held accountable then their subversive actions will become the norm and our way of life will be diminished and put at great risk.”
--James Botsford, Marathon County
“I am compelled to devote time and effort in my political activity to assuring that my fellow citizens are educated on these matters in addition to policy topics. This additional effort is necessary in order to help people feel that citizen action such as voting is worth their time. In recent months of phoning and canvassing neighbors to talk about voting and to learn about what matters to them, I am hearing a fervent concern that politicians are corrupt and cannot be trusted. This detracts from the essential work of understanding the choices that impact voters in the 2022 and future elections. This burden would be greatly relieved if Senator Johnson and Representatives Fitzgerald and Tiffany were disqualified from the ballot.”
–Margaret DeMuth, Lake Mills
I was so touched by our plaintiffs' affidavits that I invited them to read their testimonies on our weekly podcast and radio show called “Up North.” Please watch this episode if you want to learn how honest and earnest our plaintiffs are.
These folks are clearly not political pawns pulling a “political stunt.” They're the people that work the polls to ensure that our votes have been counted. They're the people that show up to city council meetings to make sure our tax dollars are being spent wisely. And they want to make Wisconsin a better place for everyone, not just those who vote for Democrats.
So this is where I ask you to chip in again for this lawsuit. So far, this lawsuit has cost $199,807.54, and with your help, we’ve already paid $110,310.80, which leaves a balance of $89,496.74
I understand this is a large sum of money, but I promise these lawyers are not gouging us. They’re corporate trial lawyers working night and day on this case, which means they can’t do their normal work for their usual corporate clients with deeper pockets.
And trust me, we WANT BADASS corporate lawyers on this case, because they’re good at what they do.
In addition, they’ve already discounted their hours and have agreed to cap the total costs for this first phase of work no matter how much more work they have to do, so at least we have a light at the end of the tunnel to aim for.
We’ve been able to keep up with the bills so far with hundreds of contributions averaging about $50 a person. Yes, we’ve gotten some bigger $1,000 checks and a bunch of smaller $10 checks, but this grass roots effort has shown that you all understand what this lawsuit means for our country and why it’s important that SOMEONE DO SOMETHING to HOLD THESE GUYS ACCOUNTABLE for trying to overturn a fair election.
As I’ve consistently said, the Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC SHOULDN’T be doing this. Our state’s Attorney General Josh Kaul and our Nation’s Attorney General Merrick Garland SHOULD be doing this and using our tax dollars to fund it.
But that hasn’t happened and to my ongoing dismay, I don’t think it’s going to.
So I’m asking you to dig a little deeper and help us get this first phase of the lawsuit paid for so we can balance the books and cross our fingers that the judge chooses to hear this case. Here's the link to donate.
I promise if we get past dismissal, it will become national news and we’ll hopefully be able to get a LOT MORE PEOPLE to start chipping in.
Thanks again for all of your help, and thanks for believing in this case.
Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company
Founder, Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC