The Republican challenger to state Sen. Bob Wirch, D-Pleasant Prairie, is a big-time corporate lawyer from Chicago who has made a big deal of his legal knowledge and experience.

But the challenger, Jonathan Steitz, has a bit of problem: He is now under criminal investigation for renting his home to a sex offender, placing the offender within close proximity to a Kenosha middle school.

The"> Kenosha News reports: "State Senate hopeful Jonathan Steitz is facing allegations he violated Kenosha's sex offender residency ordinance when he rented an apartment to an out-of-state offender last year. City Attorney Ed Antaramian said Tuesday that he will refer the matter to the Police Department for further investigation."

Steitz is now cooperating with the investigation into his rental of the home to the offender, a move that neighbors say should lead to the prosecution of Steitz for violating the ordinance, which sets restrictions on where registered offenders may reside.

Violators of the city ordinance face a forfeiture of up to $500, according to the Kenosha News.

Steitz's legal troubles — like those of another Republican recall candidate, Kim Simac, who is challenging state Sen. Jim Holperin, a northern Wisconsin Democrat — provide a reminder that the Republicans are less interested in electing capable legislators than they are in punishing Democrats who have dared to disagree with Gov. Scott Walker's anti-labor, anti-local-democracy agenda.

State and local Republicans in both the Kenosha area and in northern Wisconsin had a chance to nominate veteran local officials — a former Kenosha county sheriff and County Board member in the south, the current Lincoln County Board chairman in the north — but they chose instead to go with candidates whose only real qualification appears to be a willingness to do as the governor demands.

The state Senate needs to be populated with independent and honorable legislators, be they Democrats or Republicans — not with politicians for hire who think that the only law they must follow is the dictate of Scott Walker.

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