Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Denounces Republican Plan to Smash the GAB



For Immediate Release
October 7, 2015
Contact:  Matt Rothschild
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
(608) 255-4260

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Denounces Republican Plan
to Smash the GAB

“A Disgraceful Move, Constructed on a Pile of Lies, and a Recipe for More Scandal”

MADISON—The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign blasted the bill the Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature just introduced to do away with the Government Accountability Board, the state’s ethics and elections watchdog.

          “It’s a disgraceful move, constructed on a pile of lies, and it’s a recipe for more scandal,” said Matt Rothschild, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on Announcement of Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin issued the following statement after an agreement was reached among the 12 nations negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP):


“This deal was hatched in secret behind closed doors so I look forward reviewing it and seeing if it’s another unfair trade deal that stacks the deck against Wisconsin workers. The United States Trade Representative should immediately make the details of this deal available to the American people.


“The people of Wisconsin deserve more than the same failed promises from unfair trade deals that lead to job losses. Wisconsin workers make things, and we have been one of the top manufacturing states for generations. If we hope to continue making things, we need a fair trade deal that respects and rewards the hard work of Americans. Any deal that does not help level the playing field for the American worker will not have my support – from currency manipulation to state-owned enterprises to labor standards, American workers shouldn’t be put at a disadvantage by unfair trade deals that rig the game against our Made in America economy.”


An online version of this release is available here.

How Dismantling Civil Service is happening in Wisconsin One Step at a Time

How Dismantling Civil Service is happening in Wisconsin One Step at a Time
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“Please do what you can to stop the dismantling of the civil service system,” Mary from Trempealeau County asked me.
Mary is a retired social worker. Her call is one of a number of contacts I received lately from residents unhappy with a bill that would change state employment. Residents expressed concern that government jobs will be filled with political friends and relatives of those in power and will fail to serve its citizens.
A newly introduced bill would do away with examinations for state jobs. Under the bill, every resume for filling 30,000 state positions would go to the behemoth state Department of Administration (DOA) and into the hands of political appointees. The bill would keep employees on probation for two years and use new vague language to fire state employees.

Court of Appeals rules EPA did not protect water from invasives

Update --- a few links at the bottom.

In a ruling that will probably have far-ranging effects, the 2nd District Court of Appeals has ruled that the EPA has failed to protect the nation's water from invasive species under the Clean Water Act.

According to Mark Smith, policy director of the National Wildlife Federation:

“This is a huge win for our environment, economy, fish, wildlife, communities, and businesses. The court, in no uncertain terms, has told the federal government that it needs to uphold its responsibility under the Clean Water Act to protect our drinking water, jobs, and way of life. This decision is welcome news for the millions of families, anglers, hunters, paddlers, beach-goers, and business owners, who have borne the brunt of damages from aquatic invasive species for far too long. We look forward to working with the U.S. EPA to put in place safeguards that adhere to the Clean Water Act and protect all of our nation’s waters that are essential for people, fish, and wildlife. It’s time to slam the door on this serious threat once and for all.”

We'll try to have more info for you as it becomes available.

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.


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