Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Did WI Cartoonist Illegally Impersonate Legislator?

On Saturday, February 25, Wisconsin State Assemblyman Steve Nass did not send a press release to the (Madison) Capital Times.

The press release came from Wisconsin labor cartoonist Mike Konopacki. Upset that Nass had successfully forced the University of Wisconsin's School for Workers to cancel a display of posters and artwork from the protests launched in reaction to Governor Darth Snotwalker's attacks on state workers, Konopacki created a fake press release purportedly from the La Grange Republican. Tweaking quotations by Nass and his press secretary, Konopacki's fake press release reported that Nass wanted the Smithsonian Institution to remove pro-labor material from the National Museum of American History.

Konopacki mailed the gag release, appearing under a Photoshopped facsimile of the Assemblyman's official letterhead, to Cap Times editor John Nichols -- who mistook it for the real thing, and reported it on the Cap Times's web site as a genuine news item.

The report was only on line for 40 minutes, but that was long enough for Nass to sic the law on Konopacki for:

946.69 Falsely assuming to act as a public officer or employee or a utility employee...
(2) Whoever does any of the following is guilty of a Class I felony:
(a) Assumes to act in an official capacity or to perform an official function, knowing that he or she is not the public officer or public employee or the employee of a utility that he or she assumes to be.
I can't wait to see whether Sarah Palin tries the same tack against Julianne Moore.

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