You might remember Sen. Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) as they guy whose wife and maid were going to sign the recall petition against him and who no longer lives at the home where he is registered. Well, it get’s worse. This guy’s mistress was hired from a right wing lobbyist firm and given a state employee’s job. You know, the jobs the senator just signed a budget bill over, killing collective bargaining. Maybe in Republican circles collective bargaining happens in bed.
Hopper, who’s been a state senator since he won a very narrow victory over his opponent in 2008, told WKOW 27 News that he had nothing to do with the hire. It just so happens that he filed for divorce from his wife in August of 2010, moved out of their home and according to his wife was living with his mistress in Madison. His mistress used to work as an aide for another state senator on a committee Randy also “worked” on. In January of this year, she quit her job at the lobbying firm (whose clients include Americans for Prosperity; aka, the Koch brothers and Scott Walker), where she “coordinated direct mailers.” In February, she was given one of those cushy state employee jobs with all of those benefits the Republicans keep nattering on about. She is now a “limited term communications specialist.”
I’ll let that settle for a moment.
The spokesperson for the department where she’s working has no details on whether the job was an existing job or one created for her. As you know, government jobs aren’t “real jobs” anyway, so I’d imagine that a created government job would be even less of a job. If I were a Republican, I’d call this lazy freeloading and enacting a sense of misplaced entitlement to taxpayer money.
WKOW 27 News reports:
In a telephone interview with WKOW 27 News, Hopper initially refused to respond to whether he had written a letter of reference or recommendation, or intervened during the woman’s hiring process.
“I want to keep my involvement of anything as a private matter. So, I’m going to maintain that.”
But Hopper later called a WKOW27 News reporter and said he had no involvement in the woman’s hiring.
It’s all sounding rather Ensign/Edwards-ish, no? It gets worse, though. Hopper claims he is living in his district in an apartment complex conveniently owned by someone he employs. He refuses to give the address out, claiming that he’s gotten threats on his life and therefore it would be a safety risk to share that information. The man who works for Hopper says Hopper does live there, but no proof such as canceled checks or an address are forthcoming.
What makes this creepy is that if Hopper is being honest, he allowed these security risks to exist for his estranged wife, never telling anyone that he didn’t live at his previous address. So basically, he’s scared enough not to want to reveal his address but not so worried over a woman’s safety; the same woman he just left for a 26 year old lobbyist. Republican family values at work again.
The FDL Reporter quoted Hopper as saying:
“I don’t live anywhere other than in the district that I serve,” Hopper said. “I’m asking no one to print the address while we still have these threats out there. (My apartment) is the one place I can go where I don’t have to be worried. The chief of the (state) Senate and the police chief of Fond du Lac are both very aware of where I live.”
He said security, not avoiding protesters, is driving the need to keep that information private.
Just six says ago, before he was outed as no longer living with his wife, Hopper also claimed to be unable to attend a parade with his wife due to threats from protesters. Of course, that turned out to be false, since his wife wouldn’t be attending a parade with him given the fact that he left her in May of 2010. Technically, by state law, he’s supposed to be living in his district. His wife told reporters he lived with his girlfriend in Madison, which is not in his district but is close to work and that he moved out in May of 2010.
The Senator might recall that during the healthcare debate, his own party refused to condemn the threats being lobbed against Democrats, including coffins being left on front yards, while Republican Tea Party leaders called for “second amendment remedies” and screamed, “Don’t retreat, reload!” Of course, we all know about the crosshairs placed on targeted Dems, one of whom was Arizona Democrat Gabby Giffords, who was later shot in the head.
It’s a matter of perspective, because after all, these sorts of threats are being said by leaders of the Republican Party, and even post-Arizona tragedy, the predominant meme among Republican leaders is that violent rhetoric is simply part of our “lively” political debate and they see no reason to tamp it down. So, when the shoe is on the other foot, but the threats much less severe, it’s hard not to note the lack of consistency. Perhaps this is God’s way of assisting Republicans toward compassion and responsibility, but I’m not holding my breath.
I didn’t see any union members carrying loaded weapons and screaming about second amendment remedies. No bricks tossed through windows. No gas lines cut at their homes. Par for the course, a Wisconsin Democratic spokesperson already came out and condemned the one verified threat that was sent to the Senators. They say empathy and compassion are good traits for leaders to have.
Mr. Hopper has signed a high-level campaign manager to help him deal with the recall and the suggestions that he doesn’t live in his district. Since he can’t very well defend himself over leaving his wife for a lobbyist half his age (or more) or the fact that his mistress just landed a nice state job while he was cutting benefits for hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites claiming severe budgetary woes, expect to see him attacking. I’m guessing he’ll start with his wife, who was the original source of the damning information against him and is the most vulnerable target and we all know how Republicans love a vulnerable target, like women, children, the disabled and the elderly. These are the people, after all, who are being burdened the most with the “shared sacrifice,” while corporations are handed huge tax breaks.
Randy was sleeping with a lobbyist whose clients are ostensibly ruining America with their well-funded campaign of taking over state governments. That could be construed as pallin’ around with economic terrorists, and allowing his mistress to take a job for the state when he just claimed there was zero money and said everyone needed to “share the sacrifices” probably wasn’t a wise idea, but if I were a Republican, I’d demand to see the blue dress and accuse Hopper of sexual harassment — at the very least this has the appearance of showing favoritism toward a woman willing to give him sexual favors, while others are waiting in line for jobs….something else unions protect workers from.
Where’s Newt Gingrich when you need him? Surely he’d want to launch an investigation against Senator Hopper. Oh that’s right, Newt is busy “loving his country.” While many Americans are out of work and Republicans are cutting state budgets and killing jobs, Senator Randy Hopper’s mistress got a “cushy” state employee job. The next time you hear a Republican droning on sanctimoniously about entitlements, remember that self-loathing is never a good thing to have in a leader, because it is always projected outward onto their constituents.
Updated: 11:28PM WKOW.com reports: “State worker with ties to Sen. Randy Hopper is being paid $11,000 more annually than her predecessor in a position at the department of regulation and licensing. State officials said the woman, 26, was hired to a limited term, communications specialist position last month, with a salary equivalent to $42, 328 annually. State officials Friday said the woman’s predecessor left the position in January, with a salary equivalent to $31,200 annually. No explanation was given for the new hire’s higher pay.” (update h/t redditor Shallah)