(MADISON)—Today, Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) issued the following statement regarding the renewal of Michael Gableman’s contract with Speaker Robin Vos to lead the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the Republican majority of the State Senate’s refusal to provide any accountability for the OSC:
“Yesterday was the last day of the regular 2021-22 Senate session and the last opportunity to finally provide some accountability for renegade Michael Gableman and his out of control Office of Special Counsel.
“I petitioned the Senate to require an audit of the OSC, which received bipartisan support, but too many of my Republican colleagues chose to continue wasting $676,000 without any transparency, accountability, or mission.
“As a member of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, I wrote to the co-chairs requesting that the Legislative Audit Bureau audit Gableman’s out of control inquisition. Neither of the co-chairs bothered to respond to that request. Then, at the next meeting of the Audit Committee, my Democratic colleagues and I asked Co-Chair Samantha Kerkman to conduct a full forensic audit of Gableman’s waste of $676,000 taxpayer dollars. Representative Kerkman ignored our request and declined to investigate Gableman’s highly questionable expenditure of taxpayer funds.
“Yesterday, all of my Democratic colleagues, and three of my Republican colleagues supported my petition to order an audit of the OSC. The audit would find out what other laws were violated beyond the open records violation found by a Dane County judge. It would determine how much taxpayer money was wasted at OSC, and it would ask what documentation exists about expense reimbursements and compensation for Gableman and his sidekicks, among other requirements.
“A Dane County judge ordered a trove of documents from the OSC be released, but warned that the documents would show nothing, saying that they ‘do not support the argument that there has been an investigation, much less the conclusions that have been made by the Office of Special Counsel.’ After all that, Speaker Vos entered into a new contract with Gableman to continue the investigation.
“The truth is, just as the documents released by the court show that there was no real investigation, we will likely find out that there was no real accounting done at the OSC. This whole operation smells like fraud, waste, and abuse. This is exactly why an audit is necessary. The taxpayers, whose resources are being used for this charade, deserve to see how bad it is—sooner rather than later.”