Government Accountability Board

GAB does not deserve torrent of disrespect

For four years, until recently, I wrote a weekly column that ran in newspapers across Wisconsin. It was called "Money & Politics," and it dealt with campaign financing, elections, lobbying and ethics.

My beat, in other words, was essentially the same as that of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. And it brought me into frequent contact with that agency's leadership and staff.

Scott Fitzgerald: We have to destroy the GAB in order to save it

[img_assist|nid=51968|title=All GOP now|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=166|height=173]Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader-in-waiting Scott Fitzgerald has telegraphed his next bad idea: He thinks the Republican-dominated legislature ought to restructure the state's Government Accountability Board (GAB), getting rid of the relatively non-partisan and politically insulated group of Wisconsin judges that now run the state's election watchdog agency in favor of -- wait for it -- political appointees.

What is Stonewall Walker hiding about his legal defense fund?

What does Scott Stonewall Walker have to hide about his legal defense fund?

He says he created it perfectly legally, with advice from the Government Accountability Board. 

People are curious about what that advice might have been, and Tom Barrett is demanding some answers.  WITI-TV, Milwaukee's Fox affiliate, reports:

WHERE DOES WISCONSIN VOTE THIS TUESDAY? Not everyone knows, not even state government

[img_assist|nid=44419|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=0|height=0]On top of everything else that the state's Republicans have done to enfeeble Wisconsin's once smoothly functioning election process, here's a potentially major problem that's going to come as a real slap in the face to some voters who show up to vote in the spring primary elections this coming Tuesday:

An unknown but possibly large number of voters are going to discover that their normal voting place has changed, without prior notice.

GAB delays online Walker recall petition database as threats and Republican rhetoric drive privacy concerns

[img_assist|nid=129742|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=279|height=147]Score another point for Republican-friendly goons who promise to harrass the million or so Wisconsin citizens who signed recall petitions against Scott Walker -- and score a second point for Republicans and their think tanks who continue to sow chaos in their effort to discredit the recall elections.

Late Monday afternoon the Government Accountability Board unexpectedly issued a statement saying recall petitions for Walker would not be posted online as scheduled. The GAB is “evaluating the privacy concerns of individuals who have contacted us about posting the petitions online.” From WITI-TV News in Milwaukee:

Request for data base tries to cause more chaos in recall process

Republican lawmakers have an unlimited capacity for mischief, especially when it comes to trying to delay the inevitable recall elections coming sooner or later this year.

State Rep. Robin Vos has asked the Government Accountability Board to create an online, searchable data base of everyone who signs a recall petition.

Why? So citizens can search the hundreds of thousands of names looking for mistakes, he says:

"I can't imagine why you wouldn't appreciate the help of people all over Wisconsin who better know the names and streets in their own communities than a staff person at GAB."

Can you imagine the chaos that would create, with everyone and his brother checking for possible errors? It would be quite convenient, though, for the right-wing vigilantes who seem interested in punishing people who exercise their rights to recall an elected official.

GOP v. GAB is pretty much Bush v. Gore, Redux

You don't have to be a constitutional scholar to see how the Wisconsin Republican Party's current lawsuit against the Government Accountability Board is, at least in terms of its tactics and arguments, just Bush v. Gore dusted off and repurposed.

The lawsuit again demonstrates just how authoritarian the GOP has become. Because it's not enough that the GOP's opponents must be excluded from being heard in court. The court also must be Republican-friendly, and run without regard to fundamental norms of due process. Moreover, the issues must be narrowly and disingenuously crafted such that Republicans are to be construed as victims of their own authoritarianism. No one else need apply.

Hang 'em high: GOP goes a' courting

[img_assist|nid=116828|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=0|height=0]Given the Wisconsin Republican Party's retooling of the justice system, toward a system more to its liking, we can now expect that anytime the GOP has a legal complaint and decides to sue, it will ask a friendly conservative judge in Waukesha County -- the state's most conservative county -- to hear the matter.

That's what the party did yesterday in deciding to sue the Government Accountability Board for actually attempting to carry out state laws that were enacted with huge Republican votes nearly five years ago. As is often now the case, the GOP doesn't actually like the law it voted for -- if its elected officials indeed ever truly understood the law they championed, beyond mere rhetoric.

In short, the Republicans are once again busy suing themselves. "Stop us before we kill again" isn't too far away from the underlying message, here.

WALKER RECALL: So successful it could be doomed

[img_assist|nid=51968|title=All GOP now|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=0|height=0]With tongue firmly in cheek, I can't help but imagine that the Scott Walker recall petition drive might be so hugely successful that it turns out to be doomed. How so? Well, read along for my little flight of fancy (although it may not seem as fanciful by the time you finish):

The Government Accountability Board's Kevin Kennedy drafted a memo the other day on how the GAB will review the recall petitions. The memo says the GAB will need to hire temporary workers to handle the massive review of hundreds of thousands of collected signatures within a tight timetable. In order to ensure nonpartisanship, wrote Kennedy, the temporary staffers wiill go through criminal background checks and their histories will be examined for signs of possible political bias, including camapign donations.

The Wisconsin Government (Unaccountability for Scott Walker) Board

[img_assist|nid=58034|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=177|height=227]Corruption in government occurs when politicians and those who influence them seek to undermine the spirit and literal intent of the laws in order to benefit their own narrow interests -- ethics be damned.

By which definition, Scott Walker is fast making himself one of the most damnable and corrupt governors in Wisconsin history, and in only a matter of a few months. Those of us Milwaukee County residents who watched his ethical failings while he was county executive saw this coming, but couldn't fully anticipate just how brazen and power drunk he would become once assuming the state's top elective office.

Worried that Walker might indeed actually face a recall petition drive from angry voters, the Wisconsin Republican Party is now apparently moving to give their maximum leader ultimate power over the rules created by the non-partisan Government Accountability Board (GAB). The board oversees elections, including recalls, and -- although this power already has been largely gutted by other partisan attacks -- oversight of campaign spending and reporting.

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