Now that the Wisconsin Legislature has wrapped up its budget work, Republican leaders are setting their sights on a new goal — overhauling the state’s Government Accountability Board. It’s the non-partisan board tasked with overseeing elections and political ethics. Its leader, Kevin Kennedy, has have come under fire recently after redesigning the ballot – some believe it gave Democrats an advantage, and for approving a John Doe investigation into Gov. Walker’s 2012 recall campaign. An anonymous article in the Wall Street Journal is prompting renewed calls for change.
Wisconsin created its Government Accountability Board in 2008 to combine and replace the old State Elections and State Ethics Boards. The change came on the heels of a caucus scandal when legislators of both parties were accused of illegal campaign activities. The GAB was hailed as a non-partisan agency that would put teeth behind laws and improve public perception. But GOP Representative John Nygren insists perception has not improved.
“If there’s doubt in the public about an agency that works for them to supposedly protect and produce honest and fair elections, if there is doubt I think there is a reason for concern and a reason for us to be taking a look at how they’re doing their current, fulfilling their current responsibilities,” Nygren says.