Fugitives From Politics: Wisconsin Dems On The Lam

February 18, 2011 12:06 pm

The Wisconsin Democratic state Senators have become fugitives, multiple media outlets are reporting, with the state police sent out to look for them – and with the Dems out of the state entirely, others are volunteering to go on the beat.

The Democrats have fled the state, thus blocking the three-fifths quorum required under the state constitution to take up Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s budget. The budget includes controversial provisions against the state public employee unions, seeking to roll back many of the state’s longstanding collective bargaining rights for public employees.

As Greg Sargent reports, state Sen. Chris Larson says that one of his colleagues, who has gone unnamed, briefly returned to his home to get some sleep. (Hmm, this person didn’t seem to understand the whole concept of being on the lam.)From Greg’s report:

That Senator’s staff reported to Larson that police visited his home, but that the Senator had managed to slip away before cops could apprehend him.

“Police were sent over to his house, but he was able to get out of there,” Larson told me.

TPM asked Larson for a further explanation of why somebody had taken the risk of going home. “Well, we’re each individuals, and this senator took a measured risk,” said Larson, who explained that despite the “call to the house” procedure back home, the senators had heard from reliable sources that the police had never been dispatched to search outside the Capitol building.

How close did this person get to being caught, TPMDC asked? “Well they weren’t — so they weren’t that close,” said Larson. “Somebody called to alert him to let him know that they [the police] were on their way, so he had enough time to go.”

Separately, WisPolitics reported Friday morning that State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) sent the state police to the home of Minority Leader Mark Miller (D), who lives in a suburb of the capital of Madison:

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he has asked the guv to send a state trooper to the home of Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, D-Monona, to see if he was there.

Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, acknowledged the trooper would not place Miller under arrest if he was found at home, but hoped the move would force the Dem to realize the seriousness of the situation and return to the Senate.

TPMDC asked Larson whether Miller was the same person as the senator who almost got caught — Larson said no. “I can say with certainty that he did not go home.”

When asked how long the senators were prepared to stay out of the state, Larson referred instead to the thousands of protestors who have showed up at the state Capitol, opposing the governor’s measure. “As long as they’re willing to show up and speak out, and as long as Scott Walker and the Republicans continue to ignore them and to not let them be heard,” said Larson. “If that’s still happening, combined with Walker saying there are no negotiations, there is no sitting at the table — if there’s no table, there’s no reason for us to be at it.”

Separately, Andrew Breitbart posted a video on Thursday, taken by a Tea Party activist in Illinois, who tracked down state Sen. Jim Holperin and repeatedly shouted questions, asking why Holperin had fled Wisconsin. Holperin at certain points attempted to engage the activist, but made the mistake of talking while the activist was interrupting him:

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