CONTACT: Mike Browne, Deputy Director
MADISON, Wis. — In a letter to the state Elections and Ethics Boards, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald have called on the administrators of the agencies responsible for campaign finance and ethics to resign. They claim Republicans have “lost confidence” in them, based on an error riddled report from Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel.
“If they thought they could get away with it, this gang would get rid of the Ethics and Elections Boards outright,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “So they’ve settled on the next best thing, sending the message in no uncertain terms that anyone who attempts to hold the GOP accountable under what’s left of the state election and ethics laws risks losing their job.”
These same Republican legislators have aggressively manipulated the rules on voting and elections in pursuit of unfair partisan advantage. After a five year campaign to make it more complicated and difficult to vote, a federal lawsuit filed by One Wisconsin Institute led to a finding that their efforts intentionally targeted minority voters.The state GOP and Gov. Walker rigged the legislative district lines in such a blatant partisan power play the case challenging their actions was recently heard by by the United States Supreme Court.
They also led their respective houses in passing legislation eviscerating state campaign finance and ethics laws, including giving themselves a special exemption from investigations of political corruption.
The pretext for the GOP leaders call for the resignations of Elections Board administrator Michael Haas and Ethics Board administrator Brian Bell was a report from fellow Republican, Attorney General Brad Schimel. The shoddy Schimel report attempted, and failed, to identify the person or persons who provided a media outlet with records of investigations into state Republicans’ political corruption.
Among the documents were revelations of huge contributions from corporations and their executives that could not be accepted directly by elected officials instead going to outside groups running ads to support Gov. Walker and Republicans. These groups were overseen by Walker’s gubernatorial campaign consultant. The contributors represented special interests that tried, and succeeded, in passing legislation to prevent the makers of lead paint for being held accountable for poisoning children and weakening environmental laws to try to build a huge pit mine near the shores of Lake Superior.
He concluded, “If anyone should be losing confidence in anyone, it’s the voters of Wisconsin in Republicans abiding by any standards of decency in their insatiable quest for campaign cash and partisan political advantage.”