Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty


Earlier this year, I obtained funding to start a non-profit legal center in Milwaukee. The newly formed Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty is tasked with the promotion of the rule of law, free markets, limited government and a robust civil society. Its primary purpose will be litigation but it will also engage in advocacy and other educational activities. I am ensconced with a small - but first rate - staff in downtown Milwaukee and we have begun to represent clients.

I am not going to write much about WILL on this blog. The organization's website will be launched in the near future and I suspect it will have a blog to which I will link from here. I will continue to teach at Marquette - now as an adjunct - but my full time commitment is as the Institute's President & General Counsel. As always, I won't blog much about matters in which I represent a client.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

From who did you receive funding?

Anonymous said...

"Capitol Times"? Hopefully, your "small - but first rate - staff" includes a proofreader. Or, you know, somebody who reads newspapers.

xoff said...

A little disclosure about your funding sources would go a long way.

John Foust said...

Geez, Xoff, what more do you want? He already said he "obtained" the funding.

Dad29 said...

Disclosure?

You mean like One Wisconsin Now disclosure?

Anonymous said...

George Soros.

Anonymous said...

Scooter needs all the help he can get, and your new glee club will need a chief fundraiser along with your steady skills at the helm.

Rick Esenberg said...

Dad 29's comment is rather trenchant but the matter is - or will be - a matter of public record. Our funding comes from the generous people at the Bradley Foundation.

In fact, I look forward to Bradley's next annual report. It is an honor to be among the wonderful organizations it supports and seeing it in print will be a real treat.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that after that disclosure, Foust, Xoff and the anonymous lefties will now drop the subject and move on.

Dad29 said...

"Bradley Foundation" is to the Left what "Soros" is to the Right, although the comparison is not really valid; Bradley likes Big Public Policy items; not political gaming.

Yes, it is an honor!

James Wigderson said...

Great. Now we can have full disclosure from the Greater Wisconsin Committee, since Xoff asked. One Wisconsin Now would be nice. How about we have the source of funding for Paul Soglin's little project concerning WMC? How about Mike McCabe's donors? Yoo hoo? Anyone want to start listing them now?

That's what I thought.

Anonymous said...

"I'm sure after disclosure that..."

So, you do admit that disclosure issues are rampant on the left and the right, correct?

The question now is...what are WE, as voters, going to do about it, rather than point fingers.


Dad29--Bradley likes Big Public Policy items; not political gaming.

Spoken like a true ideologue.


Wiggy--Care to put your money where your mouth is regarding the MacIver Institute? the Grandsons for Liberty? Wisconsin Policy Research Institute?

Look in your own backyard before making wisecracks.

Rick Esenberg said...

Anon 5:16

Actually Dad29 is recognizing a rather important legal distinction and not making an ideological point.

The organizations that Bradley funds must be 501(c)(3)s and such organizations cannot do politics in the sense of supporting or opposing candidates. They can do policy and that is, of course, related to politics and ideology but it is distinct. Thus a left wing analog to WILL would the ACLU, not the Greater Wisconsin Committee.

The GWC is a different kind of animal that does do politics. A right wing analog might be the Club for Growth. My understanding is that a foundation like Bradley could not and would not fund the Club For Growth while a foundation like Knight could not and would not fund the Greater Wisconsin Committtee.

Anonymous said...

"My understanding is that a foundation like Bradley could not and would not fund the Club For Growth..."

I could be mistaken here, but this source says otherwise...

www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Parents_in_Charge_Foundation


"The organizations that Bradley funds must be 501(c)(3)s and such organizations cannot do politics in the sense of supporting or opposing candidates..."

Technically. But Citizens United blurs that distinction. The funneling and channeling of money through Bradley (as well as liberal foundations) will be loud and clear in 2012.

John Foust said...

So if the Professor says "thus a left wing analog to WILL would the ACLU", and the ACLU defends the First Amendment, does that mean WILL is on the other side?

Rick Esenberg said...

Anon 1130

You are mistaken. The Parents In Charge Foundation is a 501(c)(3).

Citizens United has absolutely nothing to do with this. Whether an entity has 501(c)(3) status is a matter of tax law. While there may be constitutional issues around that, they were not addressed in Citizens United.

Anonymous said...

We'll have to guess the money source. The usual players? American for Prosperity, National Right to Work Legal Foundation,etc.
http://www.nrtw.org/files/nrtw/Aug-Sept_2011_Foundation-Action.pdf

http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2011/02/18/koch-brothers-behind-wisconsin-effort-to-kill-public-unions/

Anonymous said...

I notice you're group is going after the closed door policy of school district that increased the salary of employees.

It is common for boards and council's to discuss and vote on employee compensation issues behind closed doors. I hope you apply consistency and get involved when you see that a decrease in compensation happening behind closed doors.

Also, quasi-private government entities such as economic development corporations spend millions of tax payer dollars every year by going behind closed door. Senator Johnson's family was certainly a beneficiary.

Since Governor Walker turned the commerce department into one big closed door Wisconsin EDC I look forward to your law suits regarding the governor's acts of corporate socialism taking place from the public's view.

James Marcum said...

Such an interesting story to read and I enjoyed reading it as well. Keep up the good work. legal ecstasy