January 12, 2010

Cut Koschnick some slack already

Mike McCabe's Big Money Blog notes that Jefferson County circuit judge and sometime archetypal right-wing politician Randy Koschnick was for public campaign financing before he was against it:
At the press conference where Koschnick announced his candidacy back in November of 2008, he was asked directly how he felt about public financing.

Koschnick responded, "I think that's a great idea."
More recently, Koschnick filed suit in federal court alleging Wisconsin's campaign finance law is "an unconstitutional legislative scheme to use the State’s general revenue and administrative funds and to take other actions, to affect the process and ultimately the outcome between or among candidates who campaign for the Office of Justice [of the Supreme Court]."

(Whew. One sec while I catch my breath ...)

McCabe's analysis ignores the possibility that Koschnick still thinks public campaign financing is a great idea, but that the recently ratified Wisconsin Impartial Justice Act is not its appropriate vehicle.

(Mr. McCabe has championed the bill, if I'm not mistaken.)

Koschnick's complaint announces both his intent to become a candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court one more time (at least) and his intent not to accept public campaign funds in the furtherance thereof.

The thrust of Koschnick's complaint is that the Act at once unconstitutionally favors candidates who do accept public financing (not him) and unconstitutionally disfavors those who don't (him).

All of which is premised on some theory that when James Madison wrote "speech," what he was really thinking of was "money."*

So Judge Koschnick still thinks it's a great idea. It's just unpossible.

* Of course he could have been thinking of "lunch" for all we know.

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