UpFront

State Sen. Leah Vukmir says the now-defunct Government Accountability Board’s keeping of some of her personal emails was politically motivated.

The Brookfield Republican said that because she authored legislation revamping the agency — a combined ethics and elections oversight agency — that put her “in the sights of the GAB.”

“I’m certain this is politically motivated. Why else would there be a file that says ‘opposition research?’ My emails are put in a file that say ‘opposition research,'” Vukmir said on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice investigated the leak of documents from the secret John Doe probes to The Guardian, which published the information online in 2016.

The DOJ said it found at least 150 of Vukmir’s private emails, some containing personal medical information about her daughter, in the GAB’s possession.

Vukmir said she did not know her emails were collected and stored by the GAB until the DOJ released its report last week.

“I’m not given any assurance that information can be contained,” she said.

She called it an “egregious overreach of government,” and said it steeled her resolve to make even more reforms so that nothing like this ever happens again, at the state or federal levels. Vukmir is a candidate for U.S. Senate.

Republican Sen. Steve Nass of Whitewater said four former GAB employees who now work for the state Elections and Ethics commissions should resign.

“If those individuals were part of this, and they are listed in the report, and they have any knowledge whatsoever, absolutely I agree with Sen. Nass,” Vukmir said.

Vukmir said she and other lawmakers are “looking at every single option that we have moving forward” both legally and legislatively in response to the GAB’s actions and its former personnel.

“What other oversight needs to be put in place here?” she said. “Something like this tells us, ‘Is there more that we can do?'”

Also on the program, Milwaukee Alderman Michael Murphy discussed the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s projection that it will have investigated 420 drug overdose deaths by the end of 2017.

The office currently is investigating five suspected overdose deaths on a single day last week.

Murphy created the Milwaukee City-County Heroin, Opioid and Cocaine Task Force.

“It’s one of the worst public health epidemics facing not just our community but our country,” Murphy said.

“This should be looked as a brain disease, and treated as such,” Murphy said of the addictions that lead to these deaths.

He also said there’s a stigma associated with it.

“The stigma associated with this drug has really resulted in people stepping back and not doing as much as they should have,” Murphy said.

“If I had told you this was Zika, this would be a wholly totally different conversation, there would be billions of dollars being made available. But because it’s drugs, people have not been there,” he said.

Murphy said drug courts, take-back initiatives, interdiction of drugs being brought into the country and treatment should all be part of the response.

In another segment on the show, Medical College of Wisconsin graduate student Rachel Linderman said she’s worried her taxes could go up sharply if a provision in the House GOP tax plan survives conference committee.

The House tax bill would treat tuition waivers as taxable income. Universities often waive tuition for graduate students who teach or work as research assistants.

Stipends students receive for their work are often low. The House tax bill would tax both the stipend and the tuition waiver.

“The math done so far that I’ve seen says it’s about $250 a month of taxes that would be lost from our pocket,” Linderman said.

“You have to wonder about the impact it’ll have on science going forward considering all of the strides you are theoretically giving up if you are stopping students from going into that,” Linderman said.

See more from the show: http://www.wisn.com/upfront

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