Sen. Howard Marklein's Statement on Confirmation Vote
Senator votes "no" on confirmation of Mike Hass and Brian Bell
MADISON – State Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) offered the following statement on the Wisconsin Senate’s vote to oppose the confirmation of Mike Hass for the Elections Commission and Brian Bell for the Ethics Commission. The Senate considered these confirmations on Tuesday, January 23, 2018. The vote was 18 – 13 for Hass and 18-13 for Bell.
“As a State Senator, I am trusted to make difficult decisions. In the case of a confirmation, I am asked whether I trust an individual to perform the duties of the position to which they are appointed. I could not approve Mike Hass and Brian Bell to lead the Elections and Ethics Commissions because I do not have confidence in their leadership and I do not trust them to be non-partisan leaders in agencies that require an objective view. They were both part of the former Government Accountability Board (GAB) and continue to protect and employ two attorneys who have been directly involved in civil rights violations of private citizens.
I believe that we need fresh leadership who is not connected to the former GAB and is willing to insure a nonpartisan, impartial culture in these important organizations. We need truly non-partisan leaders who we all, both Republicans and Democrats, can call on to ask questions and seek advice. We have several service agencies that serve the legislature in a truly non-partisan manner. We all know that we can call on these agencies for information, advice and analysis without worrying about a partisan response. I do not feel that way about the Ethics or Elections Commissions.
My name, my son-in-law and several of my colleagues were listed as those who were targeted by the John Doe II and III investigations and we didn’t even know it. Our personal emails and messaging content was seized and we did not know that they were acquired as a part of this investigation until the report came out in December. For nearly 10 years, this information has been kept and used. Keep in mind – these are PERSONAL accounts. This content was not taken from state-related work. It was all personal.
I cannot allow the personal attacks, violations of civil rights and misuse of the John Doe process to stand. The privacy of individual citizens was violated and abused for political gain. This should alarm every citizen of Wisconsin who values their privacy and freedom to pursue their own point-of-view.”