For Release: Tuesday - January 23, 2018
Another Body Blow to Democracy and Transparency in Wisconsin
in the State Senate Today
Today, for the first time in state history (according to the Senate Chief Clerk), appointments subject to confirmation for positions in state government, were rejected without a public hearing. Behind closed and locked doors, talking only among themselves, Wisconsin State Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), voted to reject the appointments of Michael Haas as the Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator and Brian Bell as the Wisconsin Ethics Commission Administrator.
Their "sin" was that they were employees of the now-dissolved and destroyed, non-partisan Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, which Fitzgerald and Republicans dissolved beginning two years ago because the GAB authorized the completely legal and justified investigation of Governor Scott Walker and others for illegal campaign coordination during the 2011-2012 recall elections. But while they were employees of the GAB, Haas and Bell were not, in any way, involved in the investigation, which was undertaken by five county district attorneys, not by the GAB.
Haas and Bell and the public have not been told why they are being rejected by Fitzgerald and his GOP colleagues other than Fitzgerald said that he and the Republicans are "uncomfortable" with keeping Haas and Bell in their jobs. They have "based" many of their secret reasons for removing Haas and Bell on a wildly inaccurate, hyper-partisan, discredited report released late last year by Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, the most partisan state attorney general in memory.
No evidence, no charges, no specific examples of misconduct, nothing. Just secret agreement among the members of the majority party in the State Senate to get rid of them both, right before important elections, and replace them, presumably, with sycophants and pawns that the Republicans will dictate what they decide and what the result of their work on elections and ethics will be.
Today's action is a deliberate attempt to keep Wisconsinites in the dark about what this is really all about.
This is one of the most grotesque abuses of power that has occurred in Wisconsin in its history.
Today will long be remembered as one of the darkest days the Wisconsin Legislature has ever experienced in every sense of that word, dark.
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