FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Wednesday / November 20, 2013

Contact: A.J. Nino Amato, CWAG President/COO (608) 514-3317

Walker’s Aging Agencies Breaks Ethics and Federal Laws

Ken Mosentine, former President of GWAAR files complaint against the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources (GWAAR) for the wrongful and the unethical conduct of its executives and Governor Walker’s political appointeesat theWisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS)

Read Ken Mosentine’s Letter to Governor Walker

MADISON: The former Board Chair/President of the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources (GWAAR) Ken Mosentine, announced today that a letter was delivered to Governor Scott Walker’s office on Friday, November 15, 2013.

In his letter to Governor Walker, Mosentine describes a series of complaints he and the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups (CWAG) have filed against Walker’s political appointees at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and GWAAR executives – for their wrongful and unethical activities, which violate provisions of the U.S. Federal Acquisition Regulation Act and the U.S. Office of Management & Budget (OMB).

Through a year-long investigation by CWAG’s outside legal experts, CWAG discovered the misuse and mismanagement of federal funds by DHS, GWAAR and MCDA. In the case of Walker’s former political appointees at MCDA, Stephanie Sue Stein falsified her Economic Interest Statement over the last five years by lying and covering up the fact that she is the Corporate Vice President of a Wisconsin based privately-held, non-stock Corporation called the; “WI Assoc. of Area Agency on Aging Directors Inc. (Wis4A’s).”  According to the Wisconsin Dept. of Financial Institutions, Stephanie Stein, is the Corporate Vice President of Wis4A’s, along with the Executive Director of GWAAR – Robert Kellerman, who is the Corporate President of Wis4A’s.    

According to documents obtained in cooperation with Dane County officialsKellerman and Stein would invoice their own government agencies and Dane County and have them pay membership dues into their privately held, non-stock corporation. Their actions are a not only a “conflict of interest,” according to county ordinances and state/federal laws but are in fact illegal under the federal guidelines of the Federal Acquisition Regulation Act (FAR) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Emails and other documents CWAG was able to obtain, reveals Ms. Stein and Mr. Kellerman, conspired with Governor Walker’s political appointees at DHS (Kitty Rhoades, Dennis Smith, Mary Spear) when they politically targeted and financially retaliated against CWAG – when they wrongfully and indefensibly removed $1.3 million of multi-year governmental grants from CWAG - without due process and without justifiable cause.  This was done, under the cover of an unfounded DHS Audit of CWAG.

Over a 24 month period, CWAG’s Board had warned the Walker administration, DHS officials, GWAAR’s Board members and Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele – about the unethical behavior and possible illegal activities on the part of GWAAR’s Executive Director (Robert Kellerman) and Walker’s and Abele’s MCDA political appointee (Stephanie Sue Stein). Unfortunately, these warnings were ignored.

Mosentine, a Republican who supported Governor Scott Walker in his 2010 and in his 2011 recall elections – is also calling on the Governor to immediately require GWAAR to return CWAG’s Legal Services Contract and DHS’s Guardianship Support Center Grants, to CWAG within the next 30 days, which are valued at $1.3 million in multi-year funding to CWAG.

In his letter to Governor Walker, Mosentine pointed out that CWAG successfully managed these two grants under the Doyle (D) and Thompson (R) administrations over the last 12 years, along with a number of other successful programs and services that CWAG has provided to Wisconsin’s 1.2 million elderly and people with disabilities, since 1978.

One example of DHS “rigging” and “financially retaliating” against CWAG is when DHS’s own independent panel of outside technical experts gave CWAG the highest score on the DHS Guardianship Application and for its long history of successfully managing the Guardianship Grant. However, DHS Secretary Smith refused to accept these fact and awarded DHS’s Guardianship Grant to GWAAR, who came in second place among the applicants and who (a) received a lower technical score than CWAG; (b) had no prior experience dealing with Guardianship legal issues; (c) had no qualified legal staff at the time of their DHS application; and (d) Secretary Smith, completely ignored CWAG’s historical credentials and the decision made by DHS’s independent panel of experts, who ranked CWAG number one.

CWAG and Mosentine also asked Governor Walker to do exactly what the Governor demanded of President Obama, when the President’s IRS political appointees politically targeted conservative 501(C)(4) organizations.  During Walker’s high profile presidential swing through Iowa and New Hampshire, Walker demanded the President take the following “two steps,” (1) “Fire any and all employees responsible for this situation; and (2) “Appoint a Special Prosecutor now to find out if laws were broken and if anyone committed crimes.”

Governor Walker was specifically asked to:

(1) Immediately de-certify GWAAR as DHS’s Agency on Aging Resources Organization and work with CWAG and the U.S. Administration on Aging in replacing GWAAR with a newly restructured entity, with Legislative Review and Approval;

(2) Make a formal request of the District Attorney of Milwaukee County to appoint a special prosecutor to determine which laws were broken when the Milwaukee County Department on Aging Director (Stein) politically targeted and financially retaliated against CWAG; and to investigate Ms. Stein’s role in creating and funneling county taxpayers’ dollars into a non-stock, privately held corporation, which she is Corporate Vice President (Wis4A’s);

(3) Make a formal request of the District Attorney of Dane County to appoint a special prosecutor to find out if laws were broken by Walker’s DHS political appointees, GWAAR’s Executive’s Director (Bob Kellerman), GWAAR’s Board members and employees - and to investigate Mr. Kellerman’s role in creating and funneling federal and/or county taxpayers’ dollars into a non-stock, privately-held corporation, which he is the Corporate President (Wis4A’s); and

(4) Publicly condemn your political appointees (Smith, Spear, Rhoades, Stein) and GWAAR executives (Kellerman, Bouche, Adler); who politically targeted and financially retaliated against CWAG by removing $1.3 million in multi-year funding from CWAG without due process and justifiable cause, while conducting a “bogus and unfounded” audit of CWAG, who was later vindicated.

In his letter to Governor Walker, Ken Mosentine closed with; “Governor Walker, it is now time for you to stand by your public condemnation of President Obama and embrace your religious values you proudly articulated in your new book – by taking these action steps, which will help you restore the public trust in your administration. This is your Moment of Truth Governor Walker, for you and your administration. The choice is clearly yours – Politics as Usual or Moral Leadership.”

CWAG is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, founded in 1978 and whose Mission is to: Protect the Rights and Earned Benefits of Wisconsin’s 1.2 million elderly and people with disabilities.  CWAG’s legislative and legal advocacy have been successful in opposing a number of DHS’s Public Policy initiatives during the 2011-13 Legislative and Budget Sessions. In return for CWAG’s legislative opposition to DHS’s Policy Agenda, Governor Walker’s DHS political appointees, financially retaliated against CWAG by removing $1.3 million in multi-year funding and giving it to DHS’s political ally and friend – GWAAR, a quasi-public agency, which is controlled by Governor Walker’s political appointees at DHS.

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10/2/2013

Milwaukee, Wis. – October marks the 10th anniversary of Cyber Security Awareness Month. Do you know how to protect your identity online? Better Business Bureau has joined with the National Cyber Security Alliance’s STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign to educate the public about online scams and how to respond to them effectively if they do occur.

Every consumer who uses digital technology devices at home or in the office needs to play a part in cyber security. If you open a virus-ridden email attachment at work, for example, you could infect your entire company’s computer network. Savvy Cybercriminals have become experts at luring people into clicking dangerous links or opening phony email attachments.

The Department of Homeland Security advises consumers to:

Stop. Before you use the Internet, take time to understand the risks and learn how to spot potential problems.

Think. Take a moment to be certain the path ahead is clear. Consider how your actions online could impact your safety, or your family’s.

Connect. Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing you’ve taken the right steps to safeguard yourself and your computer.

In addition, BBB recommends the following:

·  Click with caution. Only open emails, attachments, and links from people you know. Use anti-virus software regularly and enhance email filters to block threats. Watch out for unsolicited emails that contain misspellings or grammatical errors.

·  Don’t believe what you see. It’s easy to steal the colors, logos and headers of an established organization. Hover over any links to see where they lead. Malicious emails may look identical to legitimate websites, but come from a different sender.

·  Safeguard your information. Don’t reveal personal or financial information in an email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. Be wary of any urgent instructions to take specified action such as “Click on the link or your account will be closed.”

·  Verify email requests. If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, contact the company directly using information provided on an account statement, not information provided in an email.

·  Keep software updates current. Having the latest operating system, software, web browsers, anti-virus protection and apps are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.

For more tips from the STOP. THINK. CONNECT campaign, visit Stay Safe Online.

For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.wisconsin.bbb.org or 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), 920-734-4352 (Appleton),608-268-2221 (Madison) or 1-800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin). Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on TwitterFacebook and YouTube.

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2013-2015 Biennium Budget Update

by Website on June 21, 2013

“State Senate Passes State Budget with over 70 Non-Budgetary related bills, which were inserted in Governor Walkers 2013-15 State Budget”American Flag State

MADISON: In the early morning hours today, the State Senate Republicans, passed the 2013-15 state budget by a one-vote margin several hours after midnight Friday morning.

The budget passed 17-16, with Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) joining all Democrats in opposing it. An hour prior to the passing the budget, 3 other GOP Senators publicly stated they weren’t going to vote for the Republican Budget (Olson, Cowles, Eli’s) but then reversed their decisions shortly after the GOP leadership had private discussions with them.

As in the 2011 – 2013 State Budget process, the only Republican who joined the Democrats in opposing the Walker Budget, was State Senator Dale Schultz who once again held firm and voted with the Democrats in opposing the 2013-15 State Budget.

The state budget now goes to Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who can alter it by using his vast line-item veto powers and then signing the budget into law.

The budget would cut income taxes by $651 million for 60% of the wealthy Wisconsin citizens who earn more than $100,000 annually; create a new statewide program that would allow children who meet income thresholds to use taxpayer money to attend private schools, including religious schools; allow Bounty Hunters to arrest people; and expands The School Voucher System at the expense of public education.

Worse yet, there were over 70 other “non-budgetary items” in the Governor’s Budget, which would have unlikely passed the State Legislature if the public was allowed to express its opposition during an Open and Transparent Legislative public hearing process.

CWAG and its Legislative Coalition Partners will provide you additional updates, as soon as the Governor determines which line items he intends to veto from the budget.

If you and members of your agency or organization are interested in attending a post 2013-2015 biennium budget analysis please respond back to this email with your contact information.

Please stay tuned!

A. J. Nino Amato

President – CWAG

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Podcasts from WI Senior Medicare Patrol

by Website on June 19, 2013

There is some great information in these podcasts.  Thanks to WI SMP and all their hard working volunteers!

Advocating for yourself:
http://www.wisconsinsmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/WISMP_Advocate_Fitzpatrick.mp3

Medical Identity Theft:
http://www.wisconsinsmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/WISMP_MedicalIdentityTheft_Ekram.mp3

Durable Medical Equipment:
http://www.wisconsinsmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/WISMP_DME_JaneTravis.mp3

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CWAG’s Governing Board is pleased to announce the new members of CWAG’s 2013-2015 Legislative Roundtable & Advisory Council

  • Ken Mosentine, GWAAR Founder & 1st Board President / CWAG’s Legislative Chair
  • Jim Sykes, CWAG Advisory Co-Chair & CWAG Founder / NCOA Advisor Board & International Federation on Aging
  • Gary Goyke, CWAG Legislative Roundtable Co-Chair / Executive Director, WI Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired / Former State Senator
  • Mike McCabe, Executive Director, WI Democracy Campaign / former Madison Metropolitan School District, Public Policy Analyst
  • Nino Amato, CWAG President & Member of the National Council of Consumer Organizations Executive Committee
  • Christine Beatty, Madison Senior Center Director / NCOA Advisory Board Member
  • Ken Taylor, Executive Director, WI Council on Children & Families & Chair, Better Choices for Wisconsin
  • Bob Jones, Executive Director, Wisconsin Community Action Program Association
  • Dana Schultz, Wisconsin Director, 9-5 Milwaukee & Social Justice Advocate
  • Jeffrey Pittman, President, WI Association for Justice & Practicing Attorney
  • Bruce Speight, State Director, WISPIRG & Chair WI Consumer Roundtable
  • Billy Feitlinger, Executive Director, WI Alliance of Retired Americans
  • Dr. Tim Bartholow, Chief Medical Officer, WI Medical Society
  • Mike Linton, CWAG Past Board Chair & CWAG Lifetime Member
  • Bill Clendenning, CWAG Board Member & Lifetime Member
  • Bob Henning, President, WEAC Retiree & CWAG Board Member & Lifetime Member
  • Buzz Davis, CWAG Board Member & Lifetime Member / Blog Editorialist & Grassroots organizer

Guiding Principles – CWAG’s Legislative Roundtable & Advisory Council

Since its inception in 1977, the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging and Advocacy Groups has had one primary mission: to improve the quality of life for Wisconsin’s elders by raising awareness about their rights and our responsibilities as citizens for families, communities and the State. CWAG will continue to focus on Wisconsin elders, 60 and older, who face difficulties associated with long life, illness, poverty and isolation, financial elder abuse and costly healthcare. CWAG knows that timely legislative and legal interventions and sound public policies, will enable vulnerable seniors to live with dignity and an improved quality of life.

Not only does CWAG affirm its commitment to work for and to empower vulnerable older adults to live as independently as possible; CWAG also re-affirms its commitment to Wisconsin’s 1.3 million elderly and people with disabilities and others marginalized by poverty, chronic health conditions and neglect.

Government Cannot Cost-Cut its way into Prosperity

CWAG and its grassroots members and coalition legislative partners do not accept the argument by politicians who believe by cutting needed programs and services to the elderly and children and reducing taxes for their corporate donors is in neither the immediate nor long term interests of Wisconsin and its citizens. CWAG’s active members are informed and intelligent citizens who understand that taxes enable our communities and our State to fulfill their moral obligation to care for all people, especially those least able to care for themselves.

CWAG’s Legislative Roundtable and Advisory Council invites concerned citizens of all ages to stand together to ensure the well-being and dignity of our fellow citizens, especially our elders, and other vulnerable populations, by raising awareness of legislation and radical cost cutting that erode a person’s ability to live with dignity.

By working together, CWAG and hundreds of coalition partners who are dedicated to responsible public policies for our elderly and children, will enable Wisconsin to become an elder-friendly State and once again a national leader on elderly and children issues.

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Please Join Us…

Poverty Matters Roundtable Discussion
Thursday, June 6, 2013
1:00 – 4:00 PM
City County Building – Madison WI
Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Room 357

A new Kaiser Family Analysis on Poverty in America presents state-by-state poverty rates among seniors, based on the supplemental measures when you factor in Health Care Costs.

Under this supplemental poverty measure, the share of seniors (65 and older) who are living in poverty has substantially increased in every one of our states. Worse yet, the number of seniors living in poverty has now doubled in 12 States.

YES, Wisconsin is one of those 12 states which went from 5% Poverty to 11% Poverty, when you factor in Health Care Costs for Seniors 65 and older.

We Need Your Help & Advocacy

If you are interested in this important social and economic issue of our time, please attend the June 6, 2013 “Poverty Matters Roundtable Discussion” in Madison, from 1:00 – 4:00 PM on how to address poverty among children and seniors in Wisconsin.

Please RSVP by Noon on Wednesday, June 5th to Jennifer at CWAG.

JHANNER@CWAG.ORG or call at (608)221-6139

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11% of WI Seniors Live in Poverty

by Website on May 21, 2013

“A new Kaiser Family Analysis presents state-by-state poverty rates among seniors, based on the supplemental measures when you factor in Health Care Costs.”

Read the Full Article Here…

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CWAG Congressional Action Alert

by Website on May 3, 2013

The Impact of the Sequestration Cuts
Its sad to report that human needs programs and services continue being cut because of the lack of Congressional Action to deal with Sequestration automatic cuts.
The lack of action by Congress is now impacting the 1.2 million elderly and people with disabilities in Wisconsin and millions of others in communities across America.
This weeks Congressional review by CWAG’s Elder Law & Advocacy Center, has identified a number of negative impacts due to these automatic cuts.

Read the Full Congressional Action Alert Here…

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Rally Fri., April 19th, 11:45AM, Downtown Madison
Front Steps, Dane Co. City/Co. Bldg.,
210 ML King Blvd., Madison, WI 53703

Hello WI Citizens -

From: Buzz Davis, CWAG Executive Board Chair, District 1 and member of Veterans for Peace, Stoughton, WI Cell: 608-239-5354

Thank you for being a CWAG member. Seniors are more in need than ever of organizations that stand up for seniors. It seems the crises in Washington and WI never end. Now it is Social Security!

Are you ready to sit back and take it? Billions of dollars in pension cuts, billions in Medicare increases and billions in Fed. income tax increases for low and middle income families.
Don’t Take It!! Fight Back!!!
Join us this Friday at above time and place and protest what is happening. You say you don’t live near Madison, then organize your own rally at the MoveOn site.

We will present representatives for Sen. Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan to accept the petitions from thousands of Wisconsinites calling for “NO Cuts to Soc. Sec. & Medicare – Cut the Pentagon Instead!”

The event is sponsored by MoveOn.org, Veterans for Peace, the WI Alliance for Retired Americans, the Coalition of WI Aging Groups and hopefully a growing list of other groups.

Below is a table on the costs of Pres. Obama’s proposals for the next Federal budget. We can’t let his proposals be enacted into law by the House and Senate.

We must Fight Back! Sign the petition! Join us in person this Friday, April 19th from 11:45AM to 12:15 or so in front of the City/County building, 210 ML King Blvd. in Downtown Madison. You will be glad you did!

Bring your own placards to the rally. Thank you and Fight Back for yourselves, family and community!
Cost of Obama’s Proposed Retiree Pension Cuts
& Tax Hikes For Low & Middle Income Workers
Over Next 10 Years
Pension Cuts Over the Next 10 Yrs.
For Soc. Sec. Retirees:
$127 Billion
For Federal & Military Retiree
& Persons on Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
+ 38 B
Subtotal
$165 Billion
Obama Proposes a Total of $165 Billion In Cuts to Monthly Pensions Over 10 Yrs.
Obama’s Proposed Fed. Income Tax Increases
Mostly for Low & Middle Income Workers Over Next 10 Yrs.
$142 Billion
Obama’s Proposed Pension Cuts & Tax Hikes Next 10 Yrs.
$307 Billion
Source:By Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press, 4-5-13 (AP)

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The Advocate Newsletter

by Website on March 22, 2013

Read the full Advocate Newsletter Here…

Jobs Growth under Governor Scott Walker
Scott Walker took office as Wisconsin’s governor in January 2011 vowing to create 250,000 new jobs before the end of his first term. The graph and chart below show Wisconsin’s jobs growth according to Current Employment Statistics seasonally adjusted data since then and how it compares to its neighboring states.

“Bungee-Jumping” Right Off the “Fiscal Cliff” CWAG: The lack of a bi-partisan leadership to fix the Sequestration Budget Cuts, will not only hurt the United States and the Worlds economic recovery from the “Bush Great Recession” but will also have a negative impact on consumers, governmental services, higher taxes and those in need of patient health care, mostly our children and our elderly. Below are two articles, which will provide you a candid assessment and additional insights of what these federal budget cuts mean for all of us. ~ A. J. Nino Amato, CWAG – President & Executive Director

Economists’ Rare Consensus: Sequestration is a Really Bad Idea:
- By John W. Schoen, NBC News

How the Across-the-Board-Federal-Budget-Cuts by Delays in Fixing Sequestration Will Hurt All of Us
- By Michael Miller, Community Catalyst

A three part agenda for advocates who want to help our children and seniors

Read the full Advocate Newsletter Here…

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