As a card carrying Wisconsin real estate agent, and a guy who just got back into the business hoping consumer trust in agents was on the upswing do to technological advances, I was incensed by my local associations dishonesty over the monetary influence in the electoral process of our state supreme court justices. The following editorial is something I fired off to our local newspaper and WRA President Bill Malkasian.
It's time the Wisconsin Realtors Association ask their president, Bill Malkasian, to step down.
Malkasian's advocacy of legal bribery of our Wisconsin supreme court justices is morally destructive and does not reflect the WRA ethical commitment to consumers. If anything, Malkasian has demonstrated how money and not a consumers interest, drives the WRA's agenda regardless of an issues perceived benefits. To deny that money has no influence is to deny the historical reality of pay to play corruption. Why should home owners and businesses trust Realtors after watching Malkasian making the case for influence peddling and bribery. I thought we were the ethical, trustworthy agents of the consumer.
How else can you explain WRA's position that unlimited amounts of money alone is not enough to require a justices recusal. According to an editorial by U.W. historian Stanley Kutler in the Capital Times, the business friendly conservative U.S. Supreme Court took the opposite view of the WRA recently when they ruled in Caperton v. Massey "that a judge had run a 'serious risk of bias' because a person with personal stake in the case had acquired 'significant and disproportionate influence' over the judge."
Even the former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson, a conservative, argued "A line needs to be drawn to prevent a judge from hearing cases involving a person who has made massive campaign contributions to benefit the judge."
According to the Wisconsin Realtors Association and Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce; not in Wisconsin. The four conservative justices incredibly abandoned the appearance of impropriety and influence, according to The Post Crescent: "The state Supreme Court adopted rules allowing judges to hear cases involving their biggest campaign contributors, siding with business interests and rejecting calls for reform."
Malkasian's advocacy has cast doubt on Wisconsin Realtors as ethical agents of our clients and erodes the public confidence in the court's integrity. Malkasian doesn't represent me or many of my fellow Realtors. After making the embarrassing case that unlimited amounts of money would never influence a justices decision in a case before the court, it's time Malkasian step down.
Wisconsin's real estate agents and brokers have a reputation to repair.