Like a bad penny, former Janesville state assembly representative Joe Knilans keeps turning up. Voters in Janesville rejected Knilans in the last election after he abandoned his constituents and stood with party bosses and Scott Walker on the class war budget bill Act 10. However, after losing the election, Gov. Scott Walker appointed him to a cushy job as one of two directors of the Office of Business Development.
Thanks to Deb Kolste and Gov. Scott Walker, Knilans is still in Madison working to cut the red tape that businesses have long said is a scourge on the state.
That's quite a Gazette stretch to thank election winner Deb Kolste for Knilans picking up a patronage job he is unqualified for from our blacklisting governor, Scott Walker. In truth, we can thank the voters of Janesville first and foremost for regaining their senses and removing Knilans from our assembly seat.
Secondly, Knilans never advocated for businesses in Madison. He advocated for the local tax-shifting collectivist-driven business lobbies of the wage beatdown group Forward Janesville and red state operators, Rock County 5.0. Big difference.
Beyond that, the first person I thought of when I read the story posted in the Gazette about Joe Knilans being appointed to a government office after losing election was Louis Butler.
You remember Louie Butler. He's the former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice who holds a law degree, was an assistant state public defender, served as a municipal judge, was elected to Branch 9 of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court and also served as an adjunct professor at Marquette University Law School. I bring him up because after he lost the state-wide SC election to the red state WMC-backed Michael Gableman, President Obama nominated Butler to serve as U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.
I don't want to draw too many parallels between Knilans and Butler. Afterall, Butler was super-qualified for the federal judgeship appointment and, Butler is black. But as the story goes, Wisconsin's top bloviator-in-chief Rep. James F. Sensenbrenner went full metal jacket on Butler's nomination. Sensenbrenner implied that losing elective office disqualifies a person from a future appointment and that Butler should not be rewarded for failure with an office and pay raise.
Sensenbrenner House Excerpt:
“The fact of the matter is that Mr. Butler lost a state-wide election, held by the people of Wisconsin, to continue serving on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court. Now, the man who was voted off the bench in Wisconsin is being given a promotion, a lifetime appointment and a pay raise. This is another example of the mismanaged way Washington is working under President Obama. The people of Wisconsin deserve better.”
Butler was eventually denied the appointment while Knilans got his. In the meantime, Mister-don't-reward-failure-with-a-cushy-job-Sensenbrenner sits silently in his cushy job.
To paraphrase a Wisconsin right-wing blogger supporting Sensenbrenner's rejection of Butler's nomination with the Knilans appointment: "Becoming a Director of Business Management should not be a consolation prize for losing an election. If the people rejected the candidate, it’s not too much to ask that he not be appointed with a pay raise where he will be no longer accountable to the voters."
What's fair is fair. The people of Wisconsin deserve better.