Prosser – Back to the Future

If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.

~Pearl Buck

When we look at yesterday, in the case of David Prosser, we discover many of the same characters, cross-connections, and similarities afoot in keeping a lid on events of today.

Prosser’s credibility as a Chief Justice was questionable long before his most recent display of violence.

The man pictured right is Scott Jensen – Waukesha. He followed Prosser as Assembly Speaker in 2006
On March 11, 2006 — Jurors found Jensen guilty of three felony counts of misconduct in office and a misdemeanor count of using his public position to benefit the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee.

Prosser admitted to performing the same activities for which Jensen was indicted
The Wisconsin State Journal reported in March 2003 that Prosser, like Jensen, presided over a system in which Assembly Republican Caucus (ARC) staffers worked on campaigns during state time and from their taxpayer-funded offices.

Prosser, who preceded Jensen as Assembly speaker, would testify that while he was a top leader, legislative caucus workers attended campaign meetings at the Capitol, recruited political candidates, gathered voter lists and set up, attended and staffed fundraisers, according to the brief.

Prosser avoided indictment even though he testified to beaching the same ethical boundaries for which his successor, Jensen, was convicted.

Guess who worked for Prosser while he was gathering voter lists, and attending fund raisers? The Clerk of Waukesha County – Kathy Nickolaus.

In 2002, republican lawmakers Steven Foti, Scott Jensen and Bonnie Ladwig and aide Sherry Schultz were criminally charged and later convicted in connection to using state resources to run political campaigns. Kathy Nickolaus was an employee of the assembly republican caucus (ARC), one of four state-funded policy-support divisions where illegal campaign work took place.

Nickolaus received immunity from prosecution in the corruption case in exchange for her testimony.

What duties did Kathy Nickolaus perform in her days with the ARC?

Her performance while working for ARC was the subject of questions in 2002 case,

Criminal complaints made reference to problems with the information technology work of Kathy Nickolaus. A criminal complaint in the case states campaign finance reports were assembled using a computer program while employees were on-the-clock for the state. The complaint states one employee “…expressed frustration with a program that ARC employee Kathy Nickolaus had created.” The complaint also states dissatisfaction with Nickolaus was more widespread: “…legislators were then using a prior existing, but ineffective, campaign finance report software program created by Kathy Nickolaus.”

Kathy Nickolaus was responsible for “creating software” when she worked for Prosser and the ARC.

Some of this information came to surface after Nickolaus’s announcement that she “found” 14000 votes in the City of Brookfield two days after the election. We also learned that Nickolaus kept the vote tabulation on her personal lap top computer.

When Nickolaus began talking about her “human error” of not having saved the votes, she began talking about software. A County Clerk in Rusk County sent out an email saying that the software Kathy Nickolaus was using, was not the same as the software template used by all the other County Clerks across the State of Wisconsin.

The Demand for an Investigation Falls to Kevin Kennedy and the GAB

The Government Accountability Board was asked back in April, about the “special software” Kathy Nickolaus was using to tabulate the Waukesha County vote.

No answer was ever given by the GAB.

GAB Director Kevin Kennedy said the agency’s investigation of spring election procedures in Waukesha County remains ongoing, but that the final canvass numbers in the city of Brookfield match the initial tallies from poll workers on Election Night.

More recently the GAB made another announcement that they could not say anything about any Waukesha investigation since Kloppenburg filed a formal complaint sealing any and all information under confidentiality statutes in the law of Wisconsin.

How does Kennedy’s response reflect the “Back to the Future” theme?

Back in the 2002 Caucus Scandal Kennedy was accused of the same sort of non-action. When he was given the information about illegal campaign activity at taxpayers expense, Kennedy decided not to investigate.

Kennedy was criticized publicly, “It’s like a police officer witnessing a crime being committed and refusing to do anything unless somebody complains.”

But Elections Board Executive Director Kevin Kennedy said the criticism was misplaced.

“This isn’t like a policeman observing a crime because we weren’t in the caucus offices when the allegations happened,” Kennedy said.

The bipartisan board, which is made up of appointees nominated by the legislative leaders, the governor and the state Supreme Court, learned long ago to carefully evaluate allegations of wrongdoing to screen out bogus claims by politically motivated complainants, he said.

Kennedy said his staff would evaluate the complaint and decide later whether to pursue an enforcement action. The activities “certainly raise some questions that merit looking into and might be the grounds for a complaint.”

In other words his approach to the caucus scandal was the very same as his approach to the Waukesha Investigation.

The lid was finally blown off the illegal campaign activity under the dome in the Sunday, Wisconsin State Journal by Dee Hall.
You can review a Timeline: Events In The Capitol Corruption Scandal hr

The threads from the past that remain twisted in deceit come back to haunt.
Are the pressures of keeping a lid on a heating kettle of fraud too much for Prosser to handle?

What are the reasons Kevin Kennedy and the GAB failed to investigate the caucus scandal and the Kathy Nickolaus/Waukesha vote count?

Why have the questions about Kathy Nickolaus’s special software never been answered?

Could the software Nickolaus used in the past caucus scandal be related to the software she used to tabulate the Spring Waukesha vote count?

The past speaks loudly …no, it is screaming.


7 thoughts on “Prosser – Back to the Future

    • What is so scary and frustrating is how these same players have continued to survive to undermine the integrity of elections.

      Kathy Nickolaus, once indicted, is now the County Clerk in Waukesha County.

      David Prosser, who admitted to performing the same illegal functions as Jensen, sits on the Supreme Court.

      Kevin Kennedy, who totally missed the mark in his failure to investigate the Caucus Scandal, sits as the Director of the GAB.



    • Yes…and the collusion has survived for years because the main body that is responsible for exposing it was the Election Board and is now the Government Accountability Board. The name has been changed, but Kevin Kennedy was/is the Director.

      Until, his incompetence is exposed, and he is replaced, the on going bending of rules and breaking the laws will go on without challenge.


  1. Another wonderful article, Dennis. Thank you! Excellent background on this hooey that doesn’t ever seem to get any play. Amazing that it’s rarely discussed in light of everything we know about Waukesha, and now everything we know about Prosser’s CRAZY.


    • Right after Kathy Nickolaus’s infamous press conference there followed a raft of references to her connection with Prosser and the Assembly Republican Committee. That was followed by the “promise” of the GAB to investigate Kathy and her handling of the Waukesha vote tabulation.

      Here we sit
      Broken hearted
      They renigged
      On what they started


  2. Pingback: Waukesha, Which Numbers would you Bet On?

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