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Money laundering complaint filed against Justice Protasiewicz by convicted felon, election denier, alleged stalker

By: Steve Schuster, [email protected]//September 21, 2023//

Janet Protasiewicz

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz. AP FILE PHOTO

Money laundering complaint filed against Justice Protasiewicz by convicted felon, election denier, alleged stalker

By: Steve Schuster, [email protected]//September 21, 2023//

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Published 8:54 a.m. CDT on September 21, 2023.

The same election denier and convicted felon who allegedly stalked Elections Commission chair Meagan Wolfe has filed a complaint against Wisconsin Supreme Court Candidate Janet Protasiewicz.

Peter Bernegger filed a money laundering and fraud complaint against the new Supreme Court justice, Sam Roecker, a campaign spokesperson for Protasiewicz, told the Wisconsin Law Journal on Wednesday.

As previously reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,  Bernegger was served in July with a warning letter from the Wisconsin Capitol Police informing him that his behavior targeting Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe could be interpreted as “stalking” pursuant to Wisconsin Statutes.

According to the Journal Sentinel, Bernegger previously claimed Milwaukee officials illegally printed ballots for Joe Biden in 2020. That allegation was made lacking any credible evidence, according to the report. He also has filed more than a dozen lawsuits against state and local election officials in recent years.

According to the complaint disclosed Wednesday, Protasiewicz’s campaign allegedly conducted money laundering and fraud known as “smurfing.”

Bernegger has spent time in federal prison after a conviction for mail fraud and bank fraud.

As previously reported by the Wisconsin Law Journal, a Ron Johnson aide asked the same convicted felon for his opinion on campaign activities.

Also as previously reported by the Wisconsin Law Journal, Dan Carlton, administrator for the Wisconsin Ethics Commission, says that if any of his seven staff members leak details from an ongoing investigation, he will personally terminate them on the spot and refer them to law enforcement.

“Complaints are confidential. If this was any of my staff, they know they would be terminated and referred to law enforcement,” Carlton told the Wisconsin Law Journal on Wednesday.

According to Carlton, there are certain exceptions to the non-disclosure rule, such as when there is a public settlement or district attorney referral, or likely in this case where the complainant disclosed the complaint details.

Carlton could neither confirm nor deny the recent report by conservative talk radio host Dan O’Donnell containing the allegations.

Madison attorney Lester Pines who is a partner at Pines Bach, called the allegations “an idle rumor.”

“It’s basically an idle rumor that someone is pedaling to get more listeners for a talk show. It’s worthless,” Pines said.

“Anyone who believes an allegation from a radio talk show host is wasting their time. Maybe there is an investigation and complaint. People make complaints all of the time, that doesn’t mean they are true. It’s just like the complaint the election was fraudulent. It wasn’t. It’s not even worth the paper it is written on. Why should we believe him?” Pines asked.

Roecker agreed with Pines.

“Right-wing extremists are desperate and peddling conspiracy theories about an election they lost by 11 points. The campaign is complying with election laws, despite what a widely discredited individual who’s obsessed with attacking our democracy says,” Roecker said.

The Wisconsin Law Journal reached out to O’Donnell on Wednesday, but a response was not received prior to publication.


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