Lawmakers on two committees clashed Tuesday over bills to overhaul the Government Accountability Board and rewrite campaign finance laws, with the head of the board accusing one state senator of McCarthyism in his line of questioning. One of the bills on a fast track in the GOP-controlled Legislature would eliminate the accountability board — the state’s elections and ethics agency — replacing it with a pair of commissions made up equally of Republicans and Democrats. Another would double the amount donors can give candidates. A third would allow people to use the Internet to register to vote, while keeping in place the requirement that people cast ballots in person or by mail.
As the committees at a joint hearing debated the bill on the accountability board, Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) asked the board’s director, Kevin Kennedy, about his professional relationship with Lois Lerner, the former IRS official who was involved in targeting tea party groups for reviews of their tax-exempt status.
“Seriously?” Kennedy responded. “Have you no decency? That is like right out the McCarthy era to ask that.” Kennedy went on to say he had known Lerner for 20 years, going back to her time as an attorney with the Federal Election Commission.
Afterward, he told reporters the exchange showed some legislators have a “shallow, petty attitude” and are focused on “inane” issues. “They don’t look at the substance of issues,” he said. “They want to look at the splash.”
Full Article: Lawmakers clash on campaign finance law, dismantling GAB.