Last week, I encouraged readers to get to know their Ron Johnson, the GOP insurgent who's lately been up in the polls against veteran Democratic Senator Russ Feingold in the Wisconsin Senate election. Now, here's a new fun fact, courtesy of Zaid Jilani, at ThinkProgress -- in Johnson's "one prominent act of political participation" prior to his Senate run, he testified in front of the state legislature against the Wisconsin Child Victims Act.
The Wisconson Child Victims Act essentially eliminates the statute of limitations for bringing suit againt "any person" for "injury caused by...an adult's sexual contact with anyone under the age of 18." For the purposes of the statute, "person" was defined as "an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, or government; governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality; public corporation; or any other legal or commercial entity."
Now, me, personally, I have no problem with easing the burden on children victimized by "an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, or government; governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality; public corporation; or any other legal or commercial entity."
Johnson didn't feel the same way. Per Jilani:
In his testimony before the Wisconsin legislature, he said it was "extremely important to consider the economic havoc...and the other victims" that the new law would "likely create" -- ridiculously comparing child abuse victims to the economic damages faced by employers being sued. Johnson warned that the Child Victims Act would lead to businesses or other organizations that work with children to be "damaged or destroyed" by civil suits and that it would "send a chilling signal" to civic-minded organizations like the Boy Scouts to not work with children in the future. He then opined that if the bill were passed, "I have no doubt trial lawyers would benefit, I'm not so sure that the actual victims would."
Unless, Johnson's PACUR, LLC was considering making a bold move into the vibrant child sexual abuse sector, his concerns don't make a whole lot of sense. Alison Arngrim of the National Association to Protect Children (PROTECT) felt similarly, asking, "Do you have to flunk a course in logic to run for office?" (Actually, it really helps!)
Ron Johnson Opposed Child Abuse Legislation Because It Would Hold Businesses Accountable [ThinkProgress]
Wisconsin's Ron Johnson Is Doomed [The Awl]