Our Republic faces an existential threat. Many unelected bureaucrats trample rights to impose their rule on the people they are supposed to serve. Often, they are praised by the “progressives” who think experts should rule Americans.
Leah Vukmir has spent the last eight years on the front lines of the greatest political conflict in Wisconsin history. Union bosses and career government officials tried to overrule the Legislature and the voters, but Leah defended the people and defeated the bureaucrats.
With Leah’s unyielding conviction, Wisconsin Republicans led the way defending the right of the people to govern themselves. When Gov. Scott Walker introduced budget reforms and union reforms in February 2011, union organizers rallied thousands of protesters to the state Capitol. Democrats in the state Senate violated their legal obligations by fleeing to Illinois. But Leah Vukmir and her fellow Republicans stood strong, and with her leadership, our state Legislature began the most productive run of any legislature in the country.
Republicans followed the letter of the law in passing legislation and defending it against multiple lawsuits. Their peaceful and lawful efforts were met with contempt by union bosses, Democratic leaders, and their defenders in the media. Scott Walker and Leah Vukmir faced insults and even death threats. Union bosses claimed schools would close and civilization was threatened. Their lies were believed by many innocent government employees. But the voters backed conservative champions through recall attempts, the courts upheld the laws, schools did not close, and the economy thrived.
But opponents inside government were plotting revenge and reversal. In 2013, the Government Accountability Board joined a secret “John Doe” investigation into all corners of conservative Wisconsin organizations. At least 6.7 million emails were secretly seized from the Internet Service Providers of dozens of people. Home raids were plotted in the conference room of the GAB headquarters in Madison. Unelected bureaucrats recommended targets and even routes to the family homes. They launched pre-dawn, paramilitary raids on the family homes of people who had been pivotal in defending the reforms of previous years.
The Supreme Court found the proceeding “without foundation in reason or law.” Leah and the Republicans in the state Legislature pushed through reforms to address the abuses: They eliminated the offending agency, the Government Accountability Board; they revised the John Doe law so that it could not be abused as a partisan tool; and they clarified campaign finance law so that even a Milwaukee prosecutor can understand it.
State Sen. Leah Vukmir was a leader throughout this process. She was a driver of reform who defied Democratic criticism to stand with the voters. She was a leader, changing the laws after learning of the John Doe abuses. Then she learned that the Government Accountability Board was well aware of her effectiveness, and they seized and reviewed her personal emails, and stored them in an unsecured file marked “opposition research.”
The threat to our Republic comes from within the bureaucracy. It comes from government officials who abuse their power for political purposes. It is a national disease which has poisoned portions of the IRS, the FBI, and many other agencies. “Progressives” do not trust the people to govern ourselves. They want legislatures and the people to be subordinate to a permanent government of supposed “experts,” who will make us do what they think is best for us.
National Republicans have often stuttered and stumbled in the face of illegal behavior from bureaucrats. Disgraced IRS officials collect their pensions. Bureaucrats defy Congress with impunity. Democrats defend the illegal behavior while Republicans struggle for a path forward.
Leah Vukmir knows how to stand up to defiant bureaucrats. Leah knows how to defend the people against “progressives” and their media allies. She has the experience desperately needed in our nation’s capital. America needs Leah Vukmir in the United States Senate.
Eric O’Keefe is Director of the Wisconsin Club for Growth. Mr. O’Keefe was a target in the John Doe proceeding and had his personal emails seized by prosecutors. Mr. O’Keefe and the Club sued the Government Accountability Board and discovery in that case was a key reason the Wisconsin Legislature eliminated the agency.