RIP Academic Freedom in Wisconsin

I want to point out a couple of articles from fellow bloggers about the legislature's attempts to obliterate tenure and fiscal accountability. It's a great idea if you really want education in the state to be dictated by politicians.

Over at Mal Contends there's an interesting opinion about how the real motive behind destroying the LAB is to hijack more control over the university -

This embedded statutory protection for the University System and academic freedom in the LAB statute would be eliminated, replaced by the analyses of proposed (and ideologically vetted) inspectors generals who would be free to proactively examine academic programs, courses within the University of Wisconsin System, instructional methods, research and public service activities and then make audits that could be used by the Walker-vetted Board of Regents for the purpose of breaking up UW-Madison, for instance, and replacing or eradicating academic programs ideologically unpopular with the GOP and political donors under the rubric of proactive fiscal action,

Press Release: Assembly Republicans Refuse to Consider Transparency and Accountability for WEDC


DATE: June 9, 2015

CONTACT: Zach Madden, 608-266-7521(office) 920-627-5773 (cell)


Assembly Republicans Refuse to Consider Transparency and Accountability for WEDC


MADISON – Today, Republicans in the State Assembly refused to join with Democrats in requesting that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) provide a report to the legislature including records and documentation of any unsecured loans, loans issued over concerns of underwriters, or loans where underwriting documentation is missing or incomplete. 

Sen. Vinehout: Reps Craig and Jarchow Display “Staggering Ignorance” of Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB)

Monday, June 08, 2015
Sen. Vinehout: Reps Craig and Jarchow Display “Staggering Ignorance” of Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB)
Republican Representatives Craig (R-Big Bend) and Jarchow (R-Balsam Lake) authored a bill to entirely eliminate the Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) and the legislature’s Joint Committee on Audit.
Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma), ranking minority member of the Joint Committee on Audit, harshly criticized the bill.
“The breadth of the Representatives’ ignorance of the LAB activities and processes is staggering,” Vinehout said. “Their bill shows a complete unfamiliarity with the skills of auditors, the efficiencies in government that LAB staff helped create and the fraud, waste and abuse that auditors discovered and further prevented through their oversight.”
Representatives Craig and Jarchow drafted a bill to create an Inspector General for each state agency over 100 employees. The Inspectors General are directed to audit agencies and/or programs by the Speaker of the Assembly and the Senate Majority Leader.
“The Craig/Jarchow bill transfers all legislative oversight of the executive branch and the fraud, waste and abuse hotline to two partisan leaders,” Vinehout said. “Their bill embeds auditors in the agencies making them ripe for corruption by executive staff and partisan leaders.”
Recent audits of economic development programs and Medicaid transportation provided lawmakers with critical and budget timely information. Last year’s audit of the Supervised Release program showed that the Department of Health Services was spending more for inmate transportation than the Department of Corrections.
“Legislative actions should be based on accurate information,” said Vinehout. “There are so many examples of how the exemplary and award-winning work of the Legislative Audit Bureau saved taxpayer dollars. All I can ask is why would legislators want do away with the LAB?”


Kicking Controls Out the Window - No UW oversight by LAB a Recipe for Corruption

Kathleen Vinehout
June 10, 2015
Kicking Controls Out the Window
No UW oversight by LAB a Recipe for Corruption
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“Suspend current law…requiring the Legislative Audit Bureau to conduct an annual financial audit of the UW System. Instead, require the UW System to contract with an independent accounting firm,” read the motion introduced by Senator Harsdorf and Representative Schraa.
Recent action by a majority of the state’s budget writing committee not only kicked the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) out of the UW System but also approved a process to get rid of state purchasing laws at the UW and waive the state’s bidding process for some UW building projects.

Talk Amongst Yourselves: - Democratic Convention

Russ Feingold

It's the second day of the Democratic Convention, and the day of the long-awaited/dreaded vote on DPW chair.  I've not expressed an opinion on this since I could actually understand the reasoning of anyone who would have voted for any of the candidates, and unlike some of my fellow bloggers, did not see any of them as evil incarnate. My preference was for Jeff Smith for a number of reasons, but it appears that ship has sailed.

I note that Russ Feingold gave a rabble-rousing speech last night, and has placed himself firmly in the race, which is a great thing. I could not make the Convention this year for a number of reasons, but am trying to keep up from home.  The vote for chair happens in the early afternoon today.

So -- what do you all think?  Chip in your opinions in the comments.

Jeff Smith asks supporters to vote for Martha Laning

A brief while ago Jeff Smith sent out an email to his supporters asking them to vote for Martha Laning. This is somewhat surprising, but the whole DPW chair race has been a little surprising this time around.

Dear friends and supporters,

This campaign has been an extraordinary adventure. I recognize that together we’ve been able to propel the conversation in the direction it needs to go. I am confident that our party can heal and unify. Together, we can be the progressive agents we should be. If we rally around each other and embrace our strength through unity, we will win back our state.   
In a recent letter, I stated how important it is that we unite. It is crucial that the leader of this party has majority support of all our delegates. We need to be able to restore trust and build confidence to make the Democratic Party of Wisconsin effective and return to the path of success.
My message has never wavered. It is a message of grassroots regional county party building and placing our faith in you, our members, over those of money changers.
Together with you, I will do all I can to fight for what is right for this great state and for our party. Therefore, I ask my supporters to join with me in casting their vote for Martha Laning for the next Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. 
I am excited for the potential that a new leadership style will bring to our party and to working with a team dedicated toward a true progressive Wisconsin.



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