A man allegedly cuckolded by Gov. Scott Walker’s former Department of Health Services Secretary was sentenced today for the brutal assault of his ex-wife.
Dane County Circuit Judge William Hanrahan sentenced Andrew Spear, 60, to 225 days in jail for an August 2012 attack in a Madison storage shed.
Spear was originally charged with taking his wife Mary Spear to the storage shed, beating her and then trying to set her on fire before she escaped. He subsequently fled town.
In a plea deal, Spear pleaded guilty last month to a felony charge of bail jumping and six misdemeanors for the horrific assault, which his lawyers said was motivated by his discovery of an extramarital affair between then-Walker cabinet secretary Dennis Smith and Mary Spear.
The case was marked by legal wrangling over emails between Mary Spear and Smith, who denied claims by Andrew Spear's defense team that he reacted after discovering telltale communications revealing their romantic affair.
Smith, a health official in George W. Bush’s administration, is considered a leading architect in the GOP’s campaign to derail the Affordable Care Act. Smith formerly served as Walker's Department of Health Services Secretary and, until his resignation, led the Walker administration’s attack on BadgerCare and the implementation of the ACA in Wisconsin.
Smith, who was formerly a senior fellow at the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation, left the Walker administration in February soon after the news of his alleged affair with Mary Spear became public. Smith moved to Washington and joined a powerful K Street lobbying shop.
Smith brought Mary Spear with him to Madison by appointing her to serve as the $8-billion agency's top lawyer. The appointment prompted howls of protests from critics who said she was woefully unqualified for the position.
In a rambling statement released last year after the assault, Smith "categorically" denied allegations of an improper relationship with Mary Spear, calling her a grade-school chum from their childhood in rural Illinois.
Smith said he hired Mary Spear over other, more experienced candidates not because of a personal relationship, but because he had been "impressed" by an obscure paper she’d written about health insurance that she’d asked him to proofread.
The Walker administration did not immediately respond to press inquiries about the governor’s knowledge of the alleged affair and whether he’d ordered Smith's separation.
Jennifer Miller, a DHS spokesperson, said Mary Spear had not worked at the agency "for more than a year."
Smith did not respond to inquiries.
Smith’s biography at McKenna, Long & Aldridge, a powerhouse K Street lobbying shop, claims that he’s worked to expand health care coverage nationwide.
But since his time in the Bush administration, Smith has fought expanded health care access. As a top federal official, he sought to limit Wisconsin's successful SeniorCare program that provides prescription drug coverage. His effort was thwarted by then-Sen. Herb Kohl.
In Wisconsin, Smith used his bureaucratic know-how to mount a campaign to hobble the implementation of ObamaCare. Several times, federal health officials overruled his efforts to curtail benefits, including his attempt to kick 30,000 children off BadgerCare.
A frequent Smith critic, Milwaukee Rep. Jon Richards, described him as a "radical."
"He had this almost fanatical approach to health programs that ignored the needs of day-to-day people," Richards said.