Wisconsin GOP rep. questions state DOJ’s ethics after state attorney advises fleeing Dems, shows political support in private e-mail

Wisconsin state Rep. Steve Nass is calling for an investigation of state Assistant Attorney General Thomas Bellavia after he sent an e-mail offering advice to two of the 14 fleeing Democratic senators on how to avoid getting caught by Wisconsin law enforcement. The e-mail also shows where Bellavia’s political support lies.

“I am a political supporter of your current efforts regarding the budget repair bill,” Bellavia wrote in a February 27 e-mail to Democratic state Sens. Joe Erpenbach and Mark Miller. Bellavia advised Erpenbach and Miller that, in other states, they should avoid counties that border Wisconsin as the state law enforcement may have jurisdiction there.

“If this statute [section 175.46] were to apply to the present situation of any of the 14 Democratic senators, it might allow Wisconsin law enforcement officers to cross into a border county, such as Winnebago County in Illinois, and take whatever actions they would be able to take in Wisconsin,” Bellavia wrote to the Democrats.

Nass sent a letter to Wisconsin’s attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen, a Republican, requesting a full investigation of the matter – looking specifically at whether Bellavia used official resources in his role as an assistant attorney general to gather or disseminate the information on how to break the law that he provided to the Democrats.

“I suspect that the Department of Justice will simply circle the wagons and attempt to cover up this matter,” Nass said in a statement on Thursday. “I believe there is no other choice left but obtaining outside legal counsel to defend the interests of the Legislature and the taxpayers.”

Nass questioned the ability of the state’s Justice Department to fairly represent Wisconsin’s citizens in defending Gov. Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill.

“I have little faith the Wisconsin Department of Justice can be trusted to fairly and impartially represent the taxpayers on all matters relating to the Budget Repair Bill becoming law,” Nass said. “In my view, this assistant attorney general has crossed the line and should do the honorable thing and resign immediately.”

UPDATE 4:28 p.m.:

In an e-mail to The Daily Caller, Wisconsin Department of Justice spokesman Steve Means downplayed the conflict of interest allegations Nass made in his statement.

“We are aware of the email,” Means said. “It was sent from a personal e-mail address and Mr. Bellavia was not acting on behalf of the Wisconsin Department of Justice with regard to any of the matters he was addressing.”

Also, Means said the e-mail doesn’t mean the DOJ can’t fairly and properly defend the Budget Repair Bill.

“Anyone following the litigation over the Budget Repair bill will quickly recognize the absurdity of Nass’ suggestion that DOJ is not vigorously defending the legislature’s lawmaking prerogatives and other weighty constitutional principles that District Attorney Ozanne seeks to cast aside,” Means said.

It remains unclear as to whether or not Bellavia will be punished or be allowed to handle Budget Repair Bill litigation.

  • jdw

    I think that Means just proved Nass was correct in that the DOJ would cover it up. Means just said, “Nothing to see here. Move on.”

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  • truebearing

    Advising elected state officials on how to elude the law is not an inconsequential act. He should be fired, immediately. it doesn’t matter if he did it from home. He used his expertise as a law enforcement official to advise the fleebaggers,and that is completely unacceptable.

  • erick1740

    The Wisconsin libs are freaking out right now. They just found out that Prosser won when the libs declared victory yesterday. Just to have it snatchedf from their idiotic hands, delicious.

  • southernandproud

    Is there not much integrity left in Wisconsin? You would think these elected officials took an oath to the democratic party instead of the citizens of their state.

  • So Cal Jim

    What frustrates me is that so few seem to be stating the obvious – that fleebagging strikes at the heart of our democratic republic. It’s no accident that our Founding Fathers chose to establish a “winner-take-all” system rather than a proportional representation system – the kind of system that kills any chance of good governance in Europe.

    The whole reason for having a quorum rule is to ensure that a minority isn’t able to enact arbitrary laws. There’s no magic number or percentage that makes a quorum. It can be any number or percentage a group decides to use for itself. Quorum rules were not intended to allow representatives to voluntarily thwart the will of the majority by refusing to perform their electoral duties. Fleebaggers are not only anti-American, they’re morally corrupt.

    But the good news is that there is a VERY easy fix. I’m surprised that no one seems to have thought of it before. [If someone has, then my apologies.] Here’s how you PERMANENNTLY solve the Fleebager issue:
    You simply enact a law that says that the number needed for a quorum is reduced by the number of legislators who are voluntarily absent, if the following conditions are met:
    1. The legislative body was notified at least 5 days before a vote is scheduled,
    2. A member is voluntarily absent at the time of the vote,
    3. All absences are deemed to be voluntary unless clear proof is presented to the contrary, and
    4. The judiciary has no jurisdiction to review or define the existence of a quorum relating to any vote.

    Thus, if you have 100 seats in a legislative body and a quorum is defined as two thirds of that number, then normally there would have to have at least 66 members present for a vote to be taken. However, if the vote was scheduled 5 days in advance and there are absent members at the time of the vote, and if there is no proof that absences are involuntary, then a quorum would be 66 minus the number of absent members. For instance, if 40 members flee to Illinois, then the quorum rule would make it necessary for only 26 members to be present for a vote to be taken.


  • hologram5

    Remove him and investigate voter fraud as we all know it happened. It always does with dems.

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  • teapartypatriot

    How about an investigation of the massive unionista voter fraud in the state supreme court election ?