Union threats succeed in making Wisconsin state senator resign

March 17, 2012 10:04

State Sen. Pam Galloway abruptly announced her resignation after a cyber-stalking campaign by Wisconsin union boss  John Spiegelhoff. Ms. Gallowy cited family health issues as the reason for her resignation which leaves the Wisconsin senate evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. It appears union tyranny is having its effect. God help us all.


Badger Pundit has the story:

Meet John Spiegelhoff, a union boss in Wisconsin.  For most of the past year he’s been cyberstalking Pam Galloway, a retired surgeon who is now an influential Republican state senator from Wausau. Even though Spiegelhoff lives in another senate district in which he’s represented by a pro-union senator (Democrat Jim Holperin), using his union e-mail account he sent Sen. Galloway dozens of threatening and harrassing e-mails.

He called Sen. Galloway “a pig,” for example.  He warned her, “stay home Pam.”  ”You sold your soul,” he wrote and, apparently as a precaution in case she should happen to meet an untimely fate, he urged her to “[r]epent and seek forgiveness.” “We are coming for you,” he told Sen. Galloway.

Who’s “we”?  Spiegelhoff and his fellow union members of Wisconsin Council 40 of AFSCME (the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO), which politically opposes Sen. Galloway.  During the entire time he’s been cyberstalking Sen. Galloway, Spiegelhoff has been serving as the AFSCME union boss for the Wausau area, representing public employees working in the 50 county and city departments listed on his union homepage here.  And since this news broke a week ago the union’s website  has left Spiegelhoff’s status with the union unchanged, and there has not even been an announcement of any rebuke of Spiegelhoff’s actions.

Some of the union members who Spiegelhoff continues to represent work in law enforcement, for example, the Park Falls and Hurley police, members of the Iron County sheriff’s department, and the Marathon County courthouse employees.  It seems reasonable to ask whether they are perfectly okay with their tall, young, and physically intimidating male union boss sending threatening e-mails on their behalf to a 50-something female physician and state senator:

For union members to intensely personalize their political disagreements with others is, unfortunately, nothing new in Wisconsin.  However, it seems we have reached a new low as we witness a union official engaging in a lengthy campaign of harassment and intimidation against a public official simply because she happens to disagree with the union’s position on matters of public policy.

There appears to be no dispute about the basic facts of what occurred.  Brian Simka of Media Trackers broke the story on March 7, quoting some of the more disturbing e-mails.  The next day MSNBC.COM picked up the story, and John Mercure of Milwaukee radio station WTMJ conducted an interview of Spiegelhoff which was rebroadcast on the Charlie Sykes show on March 9.  In the interview, Spiegelhoff did not deny sending the e-mails, nor what he’d written Sen. Galloway, although he said  he had sent her so many e-mails that he did not specifically recall the e-mail in which he called her “a pig.”

A summary, and partial transcript, of that interview is posted here (reader comments here).  The podcast of The Sykes show is available online here.  To listen to the portion which rebroadcast Mercure’s interview, click here.

Amazingly, despite his campaign of cyberstalking against a public official, Spiegelhoff is currently campaigning to become a public official himself  — for a spot on the Merrill city council.  This prompted the major area newspaper (the Gannett-owned Wausau Daily Herald)  to publish an editorial on March 8 criticizing Spiegelhoff, which reads in part as follows:

Spiegelhoff sent more than 20 emails to Galloway, in a tone that ranges from smug to angry and even bullying. He refers to the senator as “Pammy,” refers to her “corporate masters (sic) interests” and the GOP’s “extremist agenda.” He taunts Galloway that her “recall is virtually guaranteed.”

Elected officials such as Galloway deserve to be held accountable, and activists for any cause absolutely should promote their preferred politics. But the discourse on display in the messages sent by Spiegelhoff is more like what we expect to see out of Internet trolls or people who have no constructive outlet for their partisan frustrations or political energies. We expect more of the leaders of political movements, even citizen-led movements. And we certainly expect more of would-be public officeholders — at the local level or at any level.

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