Wisconsin’s newly created commission charged with overseeing the state’s ethics, lobbying and campaign finance laws voted Tuesday to allow its six partisan appointees to continue making donations to the very candidates they are regulating, rejecting a proposal to ban such giving. State law allows members of the Ethics Commission to give to partisan candidates, and the three Democrats and three Republicans on the panel have donated in the past. Two commissioners who wanted a ban on such donations said continuing to give money would look bad. They were outvoted, 4-2, by commissioners who said their votes would not be swayed based on political donations they’ve made. “I don’t want to be limited in giving contributions,” said Milwaukee attorney David Halbrooks, a Democrat. “I don’t think it will ever affect my analysis.”
But fellow Democrat Robert Kinney, a former Oneida County circuit judge, argued that “it’s a matter of perception and public confidence.”
“We have, right now, people claiming that elections are rigged,” he said. “We don’t want to create a situation where there’s less confidence in government, less confidence in fairness, less confidence in nonpartisanship.”
Kinney and Republican Pat Strachota, the former Assembly majority leader, effectively voted against allowing contributions. Technically, the vote was on whether to table motions that would have included banning donations.
Full Article: Ethics overseers can make political donations.