Is J.B. Van Hollen running out of work or something? Yesterday it was reported that the Wisconsin Attorney General sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, asking them to block a proposed merger of Sirius and XM satellite radio. Is this really an issue that should get such prominent treatment from the Wisconsin AG? His talking points against the merger look like they have been lifted directly from the strongly right wing National Association of Broadcasters. Perhaps he chose this fight because it could be helpful to the current business interests of Tommy Thompson, who twice appointed him and supported him in his narrow win in 2006. Whatever the reason or whatever one’s position on this merger, couldn’t his time be better spent elsewhere?
While J.B. Van Hollen was busy fighting the Sirius-XM merger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and law enforcement officials launched a gun violence reduction campaign. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that District Attorney John Chisholm, Police Chief Edward Flynn and others attended the event. Chief Flynn touted the ‘seamless partnership’ between the U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic, Chisholm and the Milwaukee Police Department. Noticeably absent from not only the event but also from the ‘seamless partnership’ was Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. This is the same guy that criticized his predecessor on issues of crime and promised that he would have both a plan and ‘boots on the ground’ in Milwaukee. Now that he is on the job, he has backed away from the concept that was so central to his campaign in 2006.
Mayor Barrett warned that as the weather warms gun violence will likely rise. He has called on the legislature to address the violence by supporting mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes, increasing funds for district attorneys, and establishing criminal background checks for private sales of handguns. Barrett is asking that the legislature take up these issues in the special session scheduled for next week. If J.B. Van Hollen hasn’t already lost his voice railing against the satellite radio merger, perhaps he could lend it to the effort. If Van Hollen remains mute on the subject, people might assume that he was never really Sirius about gun violence in Milwaukee.