Randy Hopper, former Wisconsin GOP senator, says drunk driving arrest politically motivated

And we think Minnesota's politics are bitter...

Randy Hopper, a former GOP state senator in Wisconsin from Fond du Lac, testified yesterday that he believes his October 2011 drunk driving arrest was a result of his support for Governor Scott Walker's effort to eliminate collective bargaining for public employees.

Hopper, 46, lost a recall election last summer. Fittingly, on the night of his arrest, he was driving back to Fond du Lac from a Packers game.

On the stand, Hopper said:

The day everything broke loose in Madison I had members of the union in my office who said, 'If you don't support us, we are going to destroy your life. We're going to picket your kids' schools, we're going to tear apart your reputation, we're going to have you recalled.

He said in the months leading up to and following the recall election, people would leave threatening notes on his vehicle while he shopped for groceries. Hopper claimed public employees, including police, send him "some of the most vile messages you have ever seen."

Apparently, even drunk driving arrests have become politicized in Scott Walker's Wisconsin.
Apparently, even drunk driving arrests have become politicized in Scott Walker's Wisconsin.

Regarding the officer who arrested him, Hopper said, "I don't have a lot of faith and trust in Officer Venne at this point because it seemed to me that he was out to get me."

Venne admitted he signed the petition that led to Hopper's recall, but said it didn't play a role in the arrest. He testified Hopper smelled of alcohol and gave signs of intoxication during his field sobriety test.

Hopper admits he drank as much as three-and-a-half beers during the Packers game, but claims he wasn't over the legal limit. Jail staff registered Hopper's blood alcohol level at .13 following his arrest, but officers and jail staff, for some reason, failed to procure a blood sample.

Hopper was pulled over after a motorist behind him noticed his car swerving all over the road. Hopper's defense attorney, taking a page from the Joseph McCarthy playbook, repeatedly asked the motorist during her testimony whether she had signed petitions to recall either Walker or Hopper. The motorist said she didn't have politics in mind when she called police to report someone driving erratically.

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