November 13, 2012

Assembly Republicans Vote to Replace Ethically-Challenged Knodl with Serial Offender Steineke

Vote Comes on Heels of Vos' Admission of Selling Wisconsin Consumers out to Title Loan Predators

MADISON, Wis. — State Rep. Jim Steineke (R-Vandenbroek), with a rap sheet spanning two decades worth of offenses including operating while intoxicated, hit and run, trespassing, and resisting an officer, was elected Assistant Majority Leader by fellow GOP members of the Assembly. He replaces Rep. Dan Knodl, a state legislator with an equally disturbing public record that includes an open records violation, disorderly conduct, and selling liquor without a license.

“Given Robin Vos is now in charge of the Assembly Republicans, we shouldn’t be surprised by their vote yesterday for Jim Steineke,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director, “But it’s troubling to think Assembly Republicans will exercise the same judgment in votes on legislation that will impact working families, students, and seniors.”

Rep. Steineke’s long list of offenses, available in full on MeetTheMajority.com, includes:

  • June 2010: Sued by a small business printing company for $3,328.7 – a money claim over an unpaid debt;
  • April 2003: Citation for OWI #1, Operate w/ BAC over .10. Blew a .18 into breathalyzer;
  • July 1997: Citation for operating auto after revocation;
  • September 1991: Charged with hit and run, driving after revocation; and
  • April 1991: Resist/Obstruct Officer, Hindering (2 separate charges). Convicted on both charges, ordered to pay fines.

Steineke continued his disregard for public decency in early 2011, telling the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “I don’t particularly care what people think,” in response to criticism for sponsoring a repeal of the mandatory auto insurance coverage law he had been cited for violating just months earlier.

Rep. Knodl’s rap sheet shows a similar pattern of unlawful and unethical incidents, including:

  • November 2012: Came under fire after it was learned he allegedly had not been completely forthcoming about his staffer taking a leave of absence to work on the campaign of Roger Rivard, the outgoing Republican Representative who received nationwide attention for his “some girls, they rape so easy” comment;
  • October 2012: Subject of an ALEC open records complaint. Charged with using taxpayer money to conduct public business on a private email system;
  • October 2008: Charged with falsifying campaign literature to list several people as supporters who did not actually support him, including a deceased individual. Later changed to a Disorderly Conduct charge;
  • 1991: Selling liquor without a license

Vos’ latest ethical imbroglio involves $24,000 given to vulnerable Assembly Republican candidates by a Georgia Title Loan company after Vos and the Republicans quietly inserted a measure into the state budget which lifted the ban on these predatory lenders.

In June, One Wisconsin Now filed a complaint to the Government Accountability Board after Vos was given free legal representation in an attempt to intervene in the lawsuit against the unconstitutional Voter ID law. As a state elected official, it is against the law for Vos to receive something of value, like expensive legal counsel. An investigation revealed the formerly anonymous funder of the lawsuit was the Republican National Committee under the director of Reince Priebus.

“Assembly Republicans may be able to overlook Robin Vos, Jim Steineke and Dan Knodl’s laundry list of public indiscretions, but there is no excuse for their votes to rubber stamp Gov. Scott Walkers’ assault on public workers, working families, students and seniors,” Ross said.

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

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