Common Cause WI: Incoming Senate Majority Leader Launches Nonsensical Attack on the Non-Partisan Elections Board

The only thing worse than a sore loser is a sore, vindictive winner. Don't these people have anything better to do? Like creating the promised 250,000 jobs and improving Wisconsin's economy? Apparently not.

Yesterday, State Senator Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), who will again become the State Senate Majority Leader in January, inexplicably launched a vicious attack on the under-funded and under-staffed Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.). Why? Because he disagreed with some of their rulings and said the non-partisan board, composed of six retired judges (two of whom were at one time Republican legislators and two others who were appointed to the board by Republican Governor Scott Walker), delegated too much authority to the professional staff whom he said issued opinions in favor of Democrats.

What opinions? Name them. Was it the G.A.B. opinion that gave the go ahead for Republicans to run "fake" Democrats in primary elections for the State Senate both in 2011 and 2012? We Doubt it. Kevin Kennedy, the Executive Director of G.A.B. has been angering Democrats and Republicans alike since he was formerly the executive director of the State Elections Board in the late 1970's when Scott Fitzgerald was still a student at Hustisford High School.

The G.A.B. has done a good job of upsetting both political parties and angering Democratic Senate Majority Leaders as well. Just three years ago in 2009, then-State Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Weston) tried to weaken the G.A.B because he resented its power to independently investigate possible criminal misconduct of legislators.

The G.A.B also angered the ultra-left partisan, labor funded, pro-Democratic attack organization One Wisconsin Now, when G.A.B. correctly and lawfully promulgated an administrative rule in 2010 requiring disclosure of all campaign communications advocating for the election or defeat of candidates for public office.

That's the whole point. The G.A.B is not supposed to please Republicans or Democrats. It is supposed to be non-partisan and independent. It was the brainchild of Republican State Senator Mike Ellis of Neenah, working closely with Common Cause in Wisconsin, and then, with other legislators of both political parties in reaction to the infamous Legislative Caucus Scandal ten years ago which criminally charged and toppled from power the top legislative leadership of both political parties: State Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala (D-Madison), Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen (R-Town of Brookfield), State Senate Co-Chair of the Joint Finance Committee Brian Burke (D-Milwaukee), Assembly Majority Leader Steve Foti (R-Oconomowoc) and Republican Assistant Majority Leader Bonnie Ladwig (R-Mount Pleasant). Chvala, Burke, and Foti served jail time. Ladwig served home confinement with an electronic monitoring device. Jensen was convicted of felony misconduct in office and would have served jail time, but his conviction was thrown out on a technicality. His new trial was later moved to the friendly confines of Waukesha County where Jensen was granted a plea deal that barred him from ever running for public office again.

Senator Ellis was also critical of the Fitzgerald announcement yesterday.

The State Elections Board -- which the G.A.B. replaced -- was totally discredited and disgraced and held in contempt because it was composed of partisan appointments from the legislative leadership (and from the Governor and the Chairs of the Republican and Democratic Parties of Wisconsin) which cast a blind eye to the corruption taking place under the Capitol dome by the legislative leaders at the time -- and which brought to Wisconsin its most serious political scandal in its 164-year-history.

And Scott Fitzgerald is proposing that we scrap the non-partisan former judges and return to partisan appointments. This is madness!

Scott Fitzgerald not only voted to establish the non-partisan Government Accountability Board both in 2006 and 2007, he even spoke out in favor of it. But now, because there was a decision or two that didn't favor his party, he wants to undermine and eviscerate it.

Every Wisconsin citizen who cares about fairness and a state government agency independent of partisan legislative leadership control that was established for just that purpose -- should do three things: First, contact/call your own State Senator and State Representative and demand that they oppose any attempt to add partisan political appointments to the Government Accountability Board. Second, contact/call State Senator Scott Fitzgerald and tell him the same thing and to lay off!

You might also tell him to work instead on creating jobs and improving the economy and stop trying to grab more partisan political power.

Please let us know what Fitzgerald said to you if you contact him. Thanks.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday December 4, 2012

CONTACT: Jay Heck (608) 256-2686


The author listed as "PRwatch Editors" is for reports attributable to CMD's editors or guest authors.


I have no sympathy for Wisconsin voters. They were warned about what would happen. They had the chance to keep sanity in their state government with elections, both regular and recall. They not only chose to give complete control back to the people who make screwy laws, but they returned the governor to his post when they could have sent him packing. So now Wisconsin voters wanted it and they have it. They now own their own legislature, and they are owned by it as well. It's all their own fault. Whatever happens in Wisconsin, voters in record numbers turned out and gave control of the state to the Right Wing Nut Jobs. They wanted it, they have it. And it's all theirs.

UncleReggie: Wisconsin voted Tammy Baldwin into the US Senate, and for Obama by a similar comfortable margin. In voting for our state legislature, Democrats beat Republicans statewide by a substantial number of votes. So, how did the Republicans retain control of the Assembly and take back the Senate? Here’s your word to look up for today: gerrymandering.