For Release: Monday - July 20, 2015
Governor Scott Walker's call today to eliminate the non-partisan Government Accountability Board (GAB) is completely misguided, self-serving and counter to the interests of all Wisconsinites who value a fair and independent state agency overseeing our elections, campaign finance laws, lobbying and ethics.
The GAB is a model for the nation and the only such entity in the country not under the control of partisan politicians. It was established to be that way in 2007, following the most serious political scandal in Wisconsin in the last century – the Legislative Caucus Scandal of 2001-2002 – after the partisan State Elections Board completely failed to identify and ferret out ongoing corruption in the State Capitol and which ultimately led to the removal from office of top five legislative leaders of both political parties.
Bipartisan legislation to establish the GAB passed with unanimous support in the State Senate and by a 97 to 2 vote in the Assembly in January of 2007. It was a Republican initiative primarily devised by former State Senator Michael Ellis of Neenah that was intended to be non-partisan. A key provision in its creation was for the GAB to have the ability to independently investigate possible wrongdoing by elected officials. That was the whole point.
Walker's call for the elimination of the GAB is simply revenge and retribution for the GAB unanimously approving the investigation of what was clearly a violation of Wisconsin campaign finance law in 2011-2012. The elimination of the GAB will only raise further questions about whether or not Walker and his campaign were involved in illegal activity. And it will be viewed by citizens as another attempt to simply eliminate any entity that puts adherence to the law above partisan fealty.
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