Wisconsin state rep. uses oldest line in the book, and no one’s buying it

Matt Saintsing
April 05, 2018 - 4:22 pm

Wisconsin State House


Dale Kooyenga, a Wisconsin state representative, removed a protest sign from the state’s Capitol last year and in the process ended up costing taxpayers $30,000. On Wednesday, he claimed he did so, in part, due to his military training.

A video of a town hall posted to Facebook Wednesday shows Kooyenga defending the action and cited his intelligence experience as a reason.

“I'm not going to give the complete details, but the military, when I was in the military, military intelligence — and when you have something like a sign against a curved wall in a place where it shouldn't be, is that is a clear risk, OK?” Kooyenga told the crowd.

“You can't just leave signs that conceal something in the public.”

On Thursday, he doubled down on the claim telling the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “a sign offers an opportunity to conceal.”

Kooyenga joined the Army in 2005, and attended basic training, Officer Candicate School, and became a military intelligence officer. He deployed to Iraq in 2008, but instead of serving in an intelligence role, was in charge of economic development for Baghdad. 

It all started last May when Donald Johnson, a Madison, Wisc. resident, placed a sign in the Capitol that harshly criticized President Donald Trump. The sign called him “corrupt” and “a serial groper.”

The resident had a state permit to display the sign, which he had taped to the back of the sign.

Kooyenga, a Republican, thought the sign was rude and posed a safety risk. Capitol Police then saw footage of Kooyenga taking the sign.

Johnson ended up suing in federal court, claiming his civil rights were violated. Last week, Kooyenga settled to the tune of $30,000, and taxpayers are stuck with the bill.

As far as Kooyenga’s defense is concerned, no one is buying it. We’ve all been around people who think they’re too cool for school, and often use their military experience as a way to establish authority over a given situation. 

But, c’mon…using the “military intelligence” line? Which intelligence? Human? Signals? Imagery? Which subset of intel specifically told him to remove a politically charged sign because it was “against a curved wall?”

To me, this sounds like the least valid type of intelligence: Bullshit