For Immediate Release
January 16, 2018
Jay Heck, Common Cause in Wisconsin
(608) 256-2686 (office); (608) 512-9363 (cell)
Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
(608) 255-4260 (office); (608) 695-7368 (cell)
Good Government Groups to Defend Elections and Ethics Administrators
Press Conference: Wed, Jan. 17, 10:30 a.m., Assembly Parlor

MADISON—This Wednesday, Jan. 17, leaders of good government groups in Wisconsin are holding a press conference to defend Brian Bell, the administrator of the Wisconsin Ethics Commission, and Michael Haas, the administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

Both are facing a reckless and baseless attack on their reputations from Speaker Robin Vos and Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who have demanded their resignations. Fitzgerald has also announced plans to vote them out of their jobs on Jan. 23 without even holding a public hearing to give them a chance to defend their good names and to allow the public to weigh in on this matter.

The good government groups are urging Vos and Fitzgerald to hold a public hearing and to call off their vendetta.

Speaking at the press conference will be:

Erin Grunze, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin;
Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin;
Chris Ott, executive director of the ACLU of Wisconsin.

“The only ‘sin’ that Brian Bell and Mike Haas have committed is being scrupulously fair, impartial, and nonpartisan in their positions and in gaining the unanimous bipartisan support from the Ethics and Elections Commissioners,” says Heck. “Apparently, Fitzgerald and Vos want hyper-partisans answerable to them alone in these jobs for the upcoming 2018 elections.”

“Mike Haas and Brian Bell are dedicated public servants who have the unanimous support of their bipartisan commission boards,” says Grunze. “It is especially troubling that elected officials are attacking them without cause in an election year when the public needs confidence in our democratic processes.”

On January 10, 11 good government groups signed an open letter to Vos, Fitzgerald, and all Wisconsin State Senators: The letter urged them “to call off the scurrilous attacks on Haas, Bell and the commissions they lead. Give them a public hearing so that they may clear their names.”

That letter was also signed by two former Senate Majority Leaders: Tim Cullen, a Democrat, and Dale Schultz, a Republican.

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