For Release: Wednesday - December 17, 2014
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) has made no secret of his misplaced disdain for the effective, non-partisan Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, the only non-partisan state agency in the nation that oversees state elections, campaign finance, lobbying and ethics. Hailed as a national model by national election experts, the G.A.B. is under attack by Vos and by State Senate Majority leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) because it makes decisions based on the facts and merits of the issues it considers by six non-partisan retired judges. Vos and Fitzgerald want the G.A.B. making partisan decisions that favor the Republicans. They control everything else in state government and it irks them to no end that they do not yet control the G.A.B.
This is very much like how Henry Potter felt about George Bailey and the Building and Loan in the seasonal classic It's a Wonderful Life.
On Monday, Vos said he no longer favored only keeping the six non-partisan retired judges that constitute the G.A.B., but would be very open to doing what Fitzgerald has advocated – making the G.A.B. a partisan entity stacked with political appointments, including those by Fitzgerald and Vos. So now, the two Republican legislative leaders are in agreement about how to eviscerate the G.A.B., which was established less than eight years ago as a significant political reform devised by retiring State Senator Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) with CC/WI and which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, including the support of both Vos and Fitzgerald.
Vos is using the pretext of a recent Legislative Audit Bureau of the G.A.B. which uncovered some issues that need to be addressed and corrected, but which in no way suggested that the G.A.B. needs to be destroyed and brought under legislative control as Vos and Fitzgerald and others seek to do.
This is an offensive and terrible initiative on the part of Vos and Fitzgerald. This past Sunday, the Wisconsin State Journal editorialized about why. Let's hope that those who seek to destroy the G.A.B., read this editorial, pause and rethink their current position before they act rashly and recklessly.
You need to add your voice to this coming debate by contacting both your State Senator and your State Representative and telling them to support the integrity and independence of the G.A.B. in its basic current form and that you oppose the effort by Vos and Fitzgerald to make it a partisan puppet agency. If you are not sure who your state legislators are, go here.
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