GOP state Sen. Steve Nass is calling on four Elections or Ethics commission employees to quit following a DOJ report that accused the old GAB of mishandling documents related to John Doe probes that touched Gov. Scott Walker or his associates.
Of the four, only Nathan Judnic, an Elections Commission attorney, was among those AG Brad Schimel recommended for contempt proceedings. In all the Republican AG accused nine people associated with the probe of failing to heed orders from a judge and the state Supreme Court on how to properly handle the records.
Nass, R-Whitewater, along with Judnic, said Thursday he does not trust Michael Haas, the Elections Commission administrator; Brian Bell, the Ethics Commission administrator; and David Buerger, the Ethics Commission attorney; following the release of yesterday’s report.
Each was mentioned in the DOJ report, which detailed issues with how the records were handled and transferred from the old GAB to the new commissions.
“The conduct at the GAB was so reprehensible that anyone associated with it is unfit to serve at the State Elections or Ethics Commission,” Nass said.
Elections Commission Chair Mark Thomsen said through an agency spokesman the AG’s report will be reviewed in closed session during Tuesday’smeeting, and he plans to make a statement afterward. The Ethics Commission did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, seized on the report to declare Republicans were right and the GAB was a “rogue agency where partisan behavior ran rampant and went completely unchecked.”
His statement took a shot at Dem arguments against replacing the GAB with the Election and Ethics commissions; Dems said the old agency was a national model.
“The GAB will go down in Wisconsin history as a failed experiment,” Vos said.
While the DOJ report focused on what the agency said was a host of issues with the GAB, Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling said it’s important to remember the initial probe resulted in the prosecution and conviction of several aides and associates of then-County Exec. Scott Walker.
“Rather than defending a culture of corruption and allowing powerful corporations to secretly buy political influence, we need to expose campaign finance abuses and restore the integrity of our elections,” the La Crosse Dem said.
State Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, also pushed back on Vos’ comments, saying the documents leaked to The Guardian showed a “corrupt scheme” by Walker and the investigation was only stopped because of an “unprecedented decision” by a conservative state Supreme Court.
“Few people besides Robin Vos and his Republican colleagues would consider this a success,” Taylor said. “Instead, it is a travesty for the people of Wisconsin and our democracy.”
See Vos’ statement:
See more on the DOJ’s report: