Audit Bureau Turns 50, Receives National Recognition and Calls for its Demise

Kathleen Vinehout

Audit Bureau Turns 50, Receives National Recognition and Calls for its Demise
By Senator Kathleen Vinehout


“Fix the broken programs, get rid of the ones that don’t work and fund those that are working.” There’s not a state candidate around that would disagree with this statement.


Yet there are some in the Legislature that would eliminate the very source of information on which programs are a waste of taxpayer dollars and where the broken programs need fixing.


For fifty years, auditors at the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) have assisted legislators and the people of Wisconsin in answering questions about dollars spent. Questions like, “Did we get our money’s worth out of that program?”

Supreme Court Justice Crooks dies

Justice Crooks

State Supreme Court Justice Patrice Crooks died in chambers today. Justice Crooks had recently announced that he would not run for another term, and 3 different candidates have already filed to run for the position.

Governor Walker expressed his condolences for the justice at the beginning of his remarks that he was dropping out of the presidential race. 

According to Reid Magney, spokesperson for the GAB, the governor may appoint a replacement for Justice Crooks - the replacement would finish the term until the new justice can be elected.

Scott Walker coming home

Scott Walker

As expected Governor Walker has just announced that he is "suspending" his campaign for president. In a brief speech the Governor explained that he is dropping out of the campaign to clear the field for other candidates, and encouraged others to do the same to allow a "positive conservative" message to ovvertake the Democratic alternatives. Perhaps we will now see the Governor in our state more often, and have more of a chance to hold him accountable.

Multiple news sources including the New York Times are reporting that the press conference that Scott Walker has called in Madison at 5 PM today will be for the purposes of announcing that he is withrdrawing from the presidential campaign.

In recent weeks Walker's poll numbers have been imploding, including a poll this week in which he placed under 1% of support for the Iowa primary. Sources say that Walker is quickly running out of money in his campaign as donors have been shifting money to candidates with a more likely chance of winning.

Personally I worry about the fact that a disgruntled and angry governor will return to the state and will "Wreak Havoc" in Wisconsin, rather than in Washington as promised. As if enough damage had not been done already.

More news after the press conference.

Strong Consumer Protections Rely on You and Your Neighbors

Kathleen Vinehout
Strong Consumer Protections Rely on You and Your Neighbors
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“I got a call saying the IRS was taking me to court, but I filed everything on time. What do I do?” Linda asked.  We both agreed the phone call sounded fishy, so I reached out to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to learn more.
The Consumer Protection experts explained there has been an explosion in the number of IRS imposters contacting people and demanding their financial information. Tax identity theft can lead to fraudulent tax filings or use of the victim’s Social Security number.

Eliminate CESA? Seriously?

It was a John McEnroe moment watching Capitol City Sunday interview with State Rep. Joe Sanfilippo of West Allis.

Sanfilippo was there to promote his idea to turn the elected State Superintendent of Schools into an appointed position.

This is the just the latest proposal as the majority Republicans continue their march to assume absolute power in Wisconsin--turning civil service positions in to appointed positions, destroying labor unions, gerrymandering voting districts, voter ID, changing the method for selecting a chief justice, turning the GAB into a partisan agency, make changes to the John Doe law and gutting the open records law to name a few.

WEDC Leaders Missed Opportunity to Apologize and Reform

Kathleen Vinehout
WEDC Leaders Missed Opportunity to Apologize and Reform
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“Are you going to follow the recommendations in the audit?” I asked the Board Chair of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). He crossed his arms, sat back and smiled at me.
A smile that, to me, said I was annoying him.
The clearest path to better outcomes at Governor Walker’s flagship jobs creation agency is to follow the recommendations of the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB).
However, during a recent and very long public hearing investigating the troubled agency, I repeatedly heard obfuscation, deception and disdain for the law.

Citizen groups form alliance to fight corruption and rescue democracy

Blue Jean Nation Logo

September 8, 2015

Three Wisconsin-based democracy reform groups – the Wisconsin Grassroots Network, Wisconsin United to Amend and Blue Jean Nation – announced the establishment of a partnership to maximize their collective impact.

“Separately, each of our groups possesses valuable assets and makes a difference,” said Mike McCabe, founder and president of Blue Jean Nation. “Together, our strength can be greater than the sum of its parts.”

What do we want? Open government reform. When do we want it? Not now.

I am looking at the current agenda for the upcoming meeting of the Lodi School Board (in whose district I reside). I see that it has a closed session scheduled for the first hour of the meeting under a grab bag listing of items that include “review minutes of regular meeting”, “review resignations and retirements,” and “review staff-2015-16.”

I went back a year and found the board has been doing this at every regular meeting with a catch-all closed session agenda with slight variations from month to month.


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