Empower Wisconsin | May 23, 2022
The state Senate wouldn’t have to go into special session to remove controversial Parole Commission chairman if Gov. Tony Evers would just do his job.
But he won’t, because the liberal governor likes what John Tate is doing.
Last week, Sen. Roger Roth (R-Appleton) launched a petition drive that would force the Senate to convene an extraordinary session and hold a confirmation vote on Tate. In doing so, Republicans, who control the Senate with a solid majority, could fire Evers’ appointee. Roth would need at least 17 senators to sign on to the petition.
Tate was set to release from prison Douglas Balsewicz, who brutally murdered his wife in front of his young children in 1997. Balsewicz has served just 24 years of an 80-year prison sentence. After intense public objection, Evers finally asked Tate to reconsider his decision. The parole board chairman relented a few days before Balsewicz was scheduled to be released.
Republican leaders aren’t keen on calling the Senate back a month after the Legislature wrapped up the 2021-22 session.
Of course, Evers could fire Tate at any time. The Parole Commission chairman serves at the pleasure of the governor, who could withdraw his nomination. That would really show how strongly Evers objected to his appointee’s egregious decision, and just how much he cares about the victims of violent crime.
But then, that would be a lie.
Evers only acted because it’s an election year and his liberal, “social justice” schtick has warn thin with a majority of voters worried about surging crime rates. The fact is, Evers’ policies and rhetoric to date confirm his support for Tate, tapped to lead parole because he agrees with a governor who campaigned on setting half of Wisconsin’s prisoners free.
If Evers cared about victims of violent crime, he would have fired Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm. It was Chisholm’s office who recommended a scant $500 bail for a career violent criminal who went to be charged with murderering six people and injure scores more in the Waukesha Christmas parade massacre. Evers was too busy to meet with the victims and their families.
It wasn’t just a one-time error in judgement. Chisholm’s office is a major player in the Milwaukee County revolving door criminal justice system that continues to cheaply release violent criminals who have gone on to be charged with murder. Evers, under state law, could remove the district attorney for cause — and there’s lots of cause.
Whatever Tate’s fate, it may all be an exercise in futility.
Even if the Senate does Evers’ dirty work for him, the governor will undoubtedly go on to appoint another soft-on-crime liberal to the parole board. How else will the Democrat hit his politically motivated prison reform goals and his need to appease the radical left?