Sen. Johnson unveils ‘Victims of Government’ project

Caroline May | Reporter

Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson on Tuesday unveiled the first installment of a new project aimed at demonstrating how big government hurts average Americans.

“The root cause of our economic and fiscal problems is the size, the scope, and the cost of government – all the rules, all the regulations, and all the government intrusion into our lives,” Johnson said in a statement.

Johnson commenced his new “Victims of Government” project with a short film detailing the plight of Granite City, Ill. resident Steven Lathrop who spent more than 20 years attempting to comply with federal wetlands regulations to alleviate flooding in his neighborhood — only to end up in a mess of red tape, bureaucratic mistakes and eventual financial distress.


According to Johnson, Lathrop’s efforts to restore his flooded neighborhood resulted in threats of prosecution and hundreds of thousands of his dollars lost in restoration efforts and attempts to obtain a permit, landing him on the verge of bankruptcy — all because the area was considered a “wetland” under the Clean Water Act.

“What difference does government intrusion make? For Steve and his family, everything,” Johnson says in the short film about Lathrop’s struggle.

Johnson also released the text of a letter he and Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill sent to the Army Corps of Engineers Monday, looking for more information about the regulations in which Lathrop became tangled.

“Mr. Lathrop has attempted to comply with the EPA wetland regulations for the past 23 years. He applied to all the of the necessary permits and corrected a problem that the Corp itself has highlighted in eight studies,” the pair wrote in part to Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, the commanding general for the Army Corps of Engineers. “The lack of coordination at the Corps and injudicious application of wetland regulation has cost Mr. Lathrop and his family their life saving.”

“Hopefully shining a little light on this awful mess will lead to a resolution that allows Steve to get on with his life, and recover some of the investment that federal involvement has cost him,” Johnson added in a statement.

Johnson is encouraging other Americans to bring him their own stories of government overreach and burdensome regulations.

“Over-regulation consumes massive amounts of the people’s money, too often lacks common sense, has no heart, costs jobs and economic growth,” Johnson added.

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