Citing a Wall Street Journal editorial last week, Republican state lawmakers renewed and intensified their claim that the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board is politically biased and unfairly targeting conservatives. Little evidence supports such allegations. Moreover, GOP leaders are ignoring key facts about the GAB as they try to weaken if not disband the independent and nonpartisan watchdog agency that oversees campaign finance, elections, ethics and lobbying laws. For starters, half of the retired judges who serve on the GAB were elected decades ago as Republicans to the Legislature, Congress or district attorney. Only one member of the GAB is a former Democratic district attorney from the 1970s, and he was appointed to the GAB by GOP Gov. Scott Walker. … Now comes a Wall Street Journal editorial critical of GAB director Kevin Kennedy. Citing anonymous sources and some quotes from emails, the Wall Street Journal questioned if Kennedy was coordinating state investigations of conservative groups with the IRS.
Kennedy traded emails with Lois Lerner of the IRS while her division of the federal agency was found to be inappropriately targeting tea party groups. Lerner was forced to resign because of the ensuing scandal in 2013.
Republicans understandably want to know more about Lerner’s connection and contacts with Kennedy, who says he and Lerner are longtime friends. The public should be curious, too. But the Wall Street Journal editorial is speculating when it concludes that “Liberals worked together to turn the IRS and the GAB into partisan political weapons.”
… Far better than going back to the bad old days of a weak and dysfunctional Elections Board stacked with the political pals of top lawmakers, Wisconsin should stick with a strong and independent GAB that’s insulated from politics as much as possible. The GAB’s structure is sound, regardless of any staffing issues it may or may not have.
Full Article: Little evidence suggests the GAB is out to get the GOP.