Sen. Lassa Statement on Bill to Repeal Government Accountability Board

MADISON -- State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) issued the following statement today in reaction to today’s public hearing on Senate Bill 294 and Assembly Bill 388, which would replace Wisconsin’s non-partisan ethics and election agency, the Government Accountability Board, with an entity controlled by partisan political appointees:

“The GAB, headed by non-partisan retired judges, has been doing a fine job of administering our state elections and ethics laws, and has won praise nationwide as a model watchdog agency for clean government.  There is no justifiable reason to replace it and go back to a partisan-controlled model that was widely viewed as a failure before the GAB was created.

“Republican legislative leaders have been quoted as calling the GAB a ‘failed experiment.’  But where is the failure here?  If these leaders want to take action against a failed state agency, they could show some urgency over the mismanagement, failure to follow the law, and possible political corruption at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. State audits and investigative journalists have shown real, tangible failures at WEDC, a situation Republican legislators have so far ignored.

“This bill, along with proposals to gut the state’s open records law and severely limit John Doe probes, are part of a troubling pattern.  Governor Walker and legislative Republicans appear intent on blinding the public and independent watchdogs and prosecutors by overturning the very laws that were put in place to combat past corruption and cronyism in Wisconsin.  I am hopeful that public vigilance and outcry will let the Governor and Republicans know that their constituents oppose these blatant attacks on Wisconsin’s tradition of clean, open and accountable government.”