Hi Everyone,This is Kirk Bangstad from the Minocqua Brewing Company and as you’ve noticed, I try to update you each Sunday on what is happening at our Super PAC, and how we’re spending the money we raise to help turn Northern Wisconsin more progressive, and how we’re reaching our goals to keep this swing state blue and maintain a progressive majority in the U.S. Congress and Senate.
There were two major events that happened this week that deserve mention—one at the national level and one very personal to us.
Nationally, JP Morgan Chase announced that they would be resuming donations to U.S. lawmakers but will not give to Republican members of Congress who voted to overturn President Joe Biden’s election victory.
We see this as a huge win for America and a 100% validation of what we’ve tried to do in Northern Wisconsin by calling out major companies whose leaders have donated to Senator Ron Johnson and Congressman Tom Tiffany, two of the most outspoken conspiracy theorists repeating the “Big Lie” that the U.S. election was fraudulent.
Over the last winter, we reported that the owners and management of Incredible Bank, Michael Hupy of Hupy and Abraham, and major doctors working at Aspirus Health—all companies that have a major footprint in our area—donated to these traitors over the last election cycle.
We asked the leaders at these companies to pledge to never to donate to them again, and while we didn’t receive those pledges, we’re happy to announce that as of the first quarter of this year, we can’t see any donation patterns from management at these three companies nor any large corporations in Central or Northern Wisconsin—save for one, the Uline Company—notorious for its large Republican donations—to these two men’s campaigns.
This is a sign that our campaign to put a spotlight on companies whose leaders donate to traitors is WORKING.
As I’ve said before, the rich often only respond to pressure when they stand to lose money, and the negative publicity of donating to traitors seemingly made them think twice about writing political checks, at least in the last few months.
We hope that Chase bank, by setting this corporate example at a national level, will give cover to Wisconsin companies to do the right thing and shun politicians who put politics over democracy and truth.
And now for our very personal news.
The Lakeland Times, owned by Gregg Walker, recently filed a lawsuit against us for defamation.
You read that right—a newspaper, which exists solely because the First Amendment protects free speech—is suing to suppress free speech.
We’ve spoken with multiple first amendment lawyers and law professors, and they’ve unanimously said that this case is a perfect example of a SLAPP suit. SLAPP stands for “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation,” which is an “all-to-common tool for intimidating and silencing criticism through expensive, baseless legal proceedings.”
Walker basically filed this suit to bleed us dry so we won’t call him out for publishing lies in his newspaper anymore.
While we announced this a few days ago on Facebook in a satirical way, poking fun at Gregg Walker for this frivolous lawsuit, we’ve since learned more about this case.
This is going to sound a bit like a spy-novel thriller, but bear with us.
The Wisconsin law firm Godfrey and Kahn usually represents the Lakeland Times. We know this because they served us two “Cease and Desist” letters over the last year after we hurt Walker’s feelings with some sharp rhetoric.
Instead of using Godfrey and Kahn for this suit, Walker used Cramer, Multhauf & Hammes, an ultra-Republican firm with no particular expertise in defamation.
We suspect Godfrey and Kahn knew this was a frivolous case and that they might be forced to pay our lawyers fees if a judge threw it out—thus they declined to take it on.
Unfortunately however, we worry that since Walker seemingly doesn’t use this firm much, and since they don’t generally take on defamation suits, there might be another right-wing group working with Walker through Cramer, Multhauf & Hammes to hurt the Minocqua Brewing Company…
Or they’re the only firm crazy enough to take this case…
Or we’re vastly inflating our sense of importance to Wisconsin politics and this is merely Gregg Walker’s latest vanity project…
Regardless of whether we’re being paranoid or not, we’ve been convinced by a few wise supporters that we need to raise some money for our legal defense.
My first inclination was to make fun of Walker and sell a little merchandise to offset the cost of our defense, but this case, if funded by bad political actors separate from Minocqua’s version of “Boss Hogg,” could be purposefully dragged on for a LONG time and actually hurt us.
And even more importantly, we feel this case needs to make statewide news and Gregg Walker be SOUNDLY BEATEN because these kind of SLAPP suits should be illegal. The judicial system should not be used as a weapon for the rich to intimidate people they don’t like.
Because of these issues, we’ve created a separate fund for our legal defense that will not be joined with the money we’ve raised to make Northern Wisconsin more progressive. We believe that money was donated for that purpose and should be spent for the greater good of Wisconsin, not to defend us from bullies.
But if you want to help us stand up to Gregg Walker and his right-wing law firm’s bullying, please considering making a donation here.
If you want to keep supporting our Super PAC and its efforts to stop Ron Johnson, Tom Tiffany, and the acolytes of Robin Vos in Northern Wisconsin, please donate here.
Regardless of where this lawsuit goes, we’re going to keep fighting for Northern Wisconsin by donating 5% of our profits from selling #progressivebeer to our Super PAC, and by shining a bright light on the lies and corruption coming from the Trump Cult in our area.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for your support. I sincerely believe we’re on the right path to making Wisconsin great again, one beer at a time.
Kirk Bangstad, Owner of the Minocqua Brewing Company and Super PAC.