Wisconsin’s One-Up Connecticut moment?

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wants to replace their election watch dog agency, apparently because it investigated his campaign: Don’t replace Wisconsin’s elections watchdog agency <read>

On Monday, Gov. Scott Walker piled on with the other Republicans who are attacking the state Government Accountability Board, arguing that it should be replaced by something more accountable. The GAB is the nonpartisan state elections and ethics watchdog agency Republicans are mad at because it did its job and dared investigate Walker’s election campaign. What some of these Republicans really mean by “more accountable” is more subservient to their partisan interests. What these folks would love to do with this watchdog is pull all its teeth and keep it on a very short leash. The people of Wisconsin should tell their legislators that’s unacceptable, just as citizens did a couple of weeks ago when 12 GOP legislators tried to shut down public access to certain records.

To be sure, the GAB isn’t perfect, as an audit last year showed. But the answer is to fix the agency and give it the resources it needs to do its job, not shut it down and replace it with a group of partisans who would report to their masters in the Legislature, as some have suggested.

In arguing for replacement, Walker didn’t rule out the possibility that the judges now on the board would be replaced by partisan appointees in a replacement agency. “It’s appropriate to just get rid of it and replace it with something that’s ultimately accountable and fair to the people of the state of Wisconsin,” Walker said.

But Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) had the clearer vision on motive here: “Clearly they want to have not election watchdogs. They want to have election lap dogs,” Barca said.

Yet Wisconsin’s Governor may not be that far ahead of Connecticut’s. Like Wisconsin our watch dog agencies were joined and weakened several years ago by Governor Malloy to “cut costs”.  How is that going for us?  It seems that the Governor is not out to do away with them, yet there has been some questionable attacks, just as the watchdog is working on investigating the Governor’s last campaign, as reported last week by Jon Lender in the Hartford Courant: Official Accuses Malloy Appointee Of
‘Incompetent’ Handling Of Computer Case <read>

The executive director of the State Elections Enforcement Commission has charged an appointee of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy with incompetence, as part of a festering controversy that began with the seizure of a computer from the commission’s office in early March…

Brandi also alleged that Brown has overreached her legal authority by trying to prevent the SEEC from re-hiring a key information-technology official who left the elections agency in 2014 after working there for seven years; the ex-employee soon sought to return by applying for a vacant position of IT manager, and Brandi wants to hire him…

The SEEC is currently investigating an allegation that Malloy’s 2014 re-election benefited from illegal funding through a state Democratic Party account intend
ed for candidates for federal office.

The Democratic Party has refused to comply with an SEEC investigative subpoena seeking documents that include communications between Malloy and top campaign aides. The SEEC recently voted to have the state attorney general go to Superior Court to enforce compliance with the subpoena, but no such action has yet been filed.

 

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