February 28, 2011
State Rep. Gordon Hintz apologizes for comments made on Assembly floor following budget repair bill vote
An Oshkosh Assemblyman issued a second public apology in as many weeks Monday, the latest for comments he made on the floor of the Assembly following a vote on a contentious budget repair bill.
Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, called Rep. Michelle Litjens, R-Winneconne, Monday morning to apologize for his comments that Litjens described as containing an obscenity and the words “you’re dead.” Last week, he accepted responsibility for being issued an ordinance violation for visiting a massage parlor in Appleton that was the subject of a prostitution sting.
Litjens told The Northwestern she did not want the incident to become public, but confirmed it after other Assembly representatives contacted a Milwaukee conservative talk show host who commented on the issue on the air Monday.
Hintz would not confirm his exact comments and referred to them merely as an “outburst” that occurred over shock at the way Republicans broke procedural rules for the Assembly early Friday morning by not calling for a vote to end the debate. When the vote was taken Democrats were caught off guard and many did not cast their ballots.
“I believe my response was shock. The only way they were going to pass this bill was by ignoring and shredding rules of the Assembly,” Hintz said. “I apologized (Monday) when I learned my comments may have been taken personally by someone.”
Litjens, who said she did not take Hintz’ comments personally, believed he was directing it to all Republicans because they voted to move the bill ahead.
“I was the closest one,” she said.
She accepted his apology but turned to Assembly leadership to request that Hintz be disciplined.
“Everyone was exhausted. We were on the floor for 58 hours. (But) there is still no excuse for his comment,” Litjens said. “We should be able to civilly discuss issues we are passionate about without feeling threatened.”
Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald was not available to comment Monday. An aide said Fitzgerald called Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, Monday to ask how he wished to proceed on the Hintz comments as well as an incident in which Rep. Chris Danou, D- Trempealeau, is accused of throwing an object that hit a Republican on the other side of the aisle.
Hintz’ other apology came Feb. 21, after he was issued a citation for sexual misconduct in connection with a prostitution sting in Appleton at the Heavenly Touch Massage Parlor. Appleton police have offered few details about Hintz’ involvement. The Democrat who was elected to a third term in November issued a statement in which he took “full responsibility for his actions” but has not said what those action were. In an interview Monday, he declined to comment on the case.
“My legal counsel has said because this is a pending investigation I’m not allowed to speak on the case,” Hintz said.
A couple of comments. First, Hintz actually said, "You're F***ing dead!" to the other assembly member. Second, the victim of his threat, Michelle Litjens, was a woman. Third, Hintz is a Democrat, and his intended victim is a Republican.
Now, since we've learned from Tuscon that violent language encourages violent acts, can we blame any violence in Wisconsin on Hintz, who casually makes obscene death threats at physically smaller political opponents in public?