Wisconsin Public Service Commission Chair Phil Montgomery got his job the old-fashioned way: As a veteran Republican state legislator, he knew the right people and made the right moves to gain a lucrative position.

How lucrative? When Gov. Scott Walker appointed his longtime legislative ally to the PSC chairmanship in 2011, it paid $120,000 a year.

Clearly, Montgomery knows a thing or two about how the game is played.

When he got a chance, Montgomery played it on behalf of former Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford. Montgomery worked with Walker to reward their former legislative colleague with a plum position at the PSC.

How much of a plum? The job that Montgomery helped Suder get pays $94,000 a year.

Now Suder’s in trouble.

The scandal surrounding the attempt by Republicans to provide $500,000 in public funds to the so-called “United Sportsmen” organization has blown up on Suder, who appears to have been a prime mover in arranging a “training” grant designed to secure a major payout for the politically connected group. 

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the United Sportsmen operation “had little experience doing the kind of training called for in the grant." Yet, according to the paper, “The measure Suder inserted into the state budget with the help of other Republicans was so narrowly tailored that it was all but certain to go to United Sportsmen's foundation, which has a former chief of staff to Suder on its board of directors.”

Democratic legislators say Suder’s involvement in the scheme disqualifies him as a candidate for the PSC job. “His apparent attempt to deceive state taxpayers, withhold critical information from his fellow legislators, and the ethical questions raised by his attempt to divert millions of tax dollars to the questionable group United Sportsmen make him wholly unqualified to serve,” argue state Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson and Democratic Sens. Dave Hansen, Nikiya Harris and Bob Wirch.

Montgomery says he stands by his decision to help Suder secure a sinecure as the administrator for the PSC’s Division of Water, Compliance and Consumer Affairs. Why? Montgomery claims it has something to do with Suder’s legislative record.

But Suder’s legislative record is now associated with one of the highest-profile political scandals in recent state history.

Montgomery’s appointment to head the PSC smacked of cronyism. The selection of Suder smacks of even more cronyism.

Instead of making a bad situation worse by trying to make a case for Suder, Montgomery and Walker should accept that this selection is no longer defensible.

The Suder appointment should be withdrawn.

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

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(24) comments

rick
rick

And walker claims ignorance. He didn't know it was in the budget he signed. Busines 101...read everything before you sign it. But since scooter never got that far it's to be expected. Suder will be transfered to another job with a raise. Maybe to the Wisconsin Economic Disaster and Corruption board.

zhepa
zhepa

Want to do something about this? Discuss with your legislators to assigning a special prosecutor to investigate. Rep. Chris Taylor, and Sen. Fred Risser, are who I call next.

"Smarts will only get you so far, and luck always runs out."--The Detective, in the film, " Thelma and Louise", for all the sociopaths in my Wisconsin Legislature and Governorship, Suder and the like.

lute
lute

Scott went too far and needs to be held accountable. The arrogance of the Wisconsin Republicans is real, but so is the law.

Laina
Laina

Funny thing is, when I first heard on NPR news about Walker calling off the grant, the spin was that the reason it was called off was because one of the "United Sportsmen" had a previous conviction of an improper hunting license. In fact, there was much more to it, as in, the group did not even have a 501c3 status (they misrepresented themselves on the application), any prior experience or qualifications, and no other groups even knew about the grant to be able to apply for it. Suder is not suitable for state government.

jimatmadison
jimatmadison

If every member of the Walker administration who was involved in a scandal resigned, there wouldn't be anybody left in the Walker administration.

elmarko
elmarko

There you have it. It is undisputed Mr. Suder should be resign or be fired. That should be the case if Mr. Suder was a democrat as well.

farming
farming

So your calling for Obama to resign.

elmarko
elmarko

Your remark was political, mine was not.

Observer5
Observer5

What does Obama have to do with this scandal?

Warren G Harding
Warren G Harding

Your(sic) should be you're.

graefental
graefental

I completely agree with the editorial. It just surprises me, at this late date, that people would expect anything BUT corruption and cronyism from an administration that has shown little interest in anything else.

lute
lute

I'm impressed. Such chutzpah. It's like Suder isn't even human.

Madravenspeak
Madravenspeak

Suder is in fact the worst sort of human. I have known him since the bear hounding "hearings" stacked with bear hounders held up north by Chairman of the Natural "resources for killing", Representative Johnsrud, over a decade ago. Ever a sadist and ever the voyeur of dog fighting cruelty on bears, he has expanded his perversions to running packs of dogs on all wildlife throughout the state, day and night, by making the friendly coyote the scapegoat of myth and white male persecution.

The only people in the state that match Suder's cruelty are Cory Meyer ( long involved in expanding trapping in Wisconsin to torture and bludgeon hundreds of thousands of innocent animals to death for pennies), George Meyer who presides over the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation of torture and killing clubs expanding trapping and killing into all public lands and state parks, and Bob Welch who avidly promotes pitting packs of dogs on wolves and their families. The latter ( Welch) is a lobbyist for the most perverse and ignorant killers in the state - and said, "Everybody is so worried about dogs on wolves...they are going to be killed anyway so who cares?"

Cheney and his waterboarding rationale have nothing on this Michael Vick on steroids group who shame this state.

California just banned trapping, banned hounding, and banned the use of lead shot ( which callously kills a million songbirds in Wisconsin and hundreds of thousands of water birds, water mammals and goes right through the chain of life and into our water systems) - California put Michael Vick in jail for running a small dog-fighting enterprise in his basement.

Suder is running a dog-fighting business across the entire state - and what could be more of a financial draw than dogs and wolves fighting and killing each other this winter? This will be a magnet for sadists to come in from around the entire country.

94% of 6500 Wisconsin citizens randomly polled in more than 6 counties are against the use of dogs on wolves. Suder has blackened any decency left in this state - and there was not much left anyway regarding wild animals.

Put him in the stocks and strip him of any further political dealings - they will all be corrupt and cruel.

Madravenspeak
Madravenspeak

Personally I would like to see Suder in a wooden stocks out in front of the capital. But at the very least we need a special prosecutor looking into the trail of this corruption which leads right back to ALEC.

This guy should be stripped of a political career and put on trial for corruption and abuse of office. What does it take? Will the attorney general step up or because it is a Republican wimp, defy citizen will for justice?

These corrupt men are destroying Wisconsin in real terms. There is nothing more important than nature and the web of life that supports our human time here. They are destroying our biological treasure in a spate of human cruelty to innocent wildlife that has citizens running for the exits to leave the most perverse and cruel here.

Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic asks for a special prosecutor and an investigation into the entire trail of this corrupt 7 minute debate in the Joint Finance committee giving a half million dollars of taxpayer money to an unknown group OR to the killing minority to recruit more destruction and killing of our wildlife and destruction of our commons.

guirkymondo
guirkymondo

Where-ever Suder goes, Robin Vos is in the shadows pulling his strings.

lute
lute

I agree with what you are saying. If the Democrats have the power to investigate Suder, that needs to happen. If they have the power, but don't do it, they are complicit in the destruction of Wisconsin.

witness2012
witness2012

This is a test of the Walker administration. How much corruption will they openly tolerate and how much will they disregard the voters when protecting one of their own with a high-paying cushy job?

Walker has cut people loose before when they become liabilities to his own ambitions. Enough public anger over this appointment and I predict he will throw Suder under the bus, too.

JUST US
JUST US

At least Suder should have the decency to not laughingly claim that he is now a private citizen and therefore does not have to address the issue. Taking that stance....he should be charged with misconduct in public office and be brought to trial. Here's a novel idea........why doesn't he decline the position out of a sense of honesty and decency. It's amazing the high quality people that get appointed to positions when civil service is replaced by patronage.

davea
davea

Using the terms, honesty and decency, when talking about anyone in the Walker Administration, is an oxymoran!

concerned_citizen
concerned_citizen

the irony of these guys working at the PUBLIC Service Commission is so awesome!

Suder should go get a job in the private sector - and stop being one of those "govt employees".

davea
davea

NEVER HAPPEN!

Nav
Nav

Yes. losing the job or not getting the job is the proper penalty. Your side has been talking about impeaching Obama over....?

Bunch of hypocrites!

tomtom33
tomtom33

I have never said one word about impeachment. But if the penalty is job loss, let's go.

tomtom33
tomtom33

What would you think about a much higher profile, costlier example of cronyism? I can think of many. Should losing or not getting the job be the penalty? If so, let's do some housecleaning.

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