A nonpartisan attorney for the Legislature and one of the state’s foremost experts on campaign finance law are disputing a contention by the state’s elections agency that political parties don’t have to publicly disclose contributions they receive from corporations. It is the latest incident in which conclusions of the state Government Accountability Board have been disputed. Frustrated with the agency, Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans in the Legislature have approved dissolving the agency this year and replacing it with two new commissions. “This is just another clear example of why the Government Accountability Board needs to be replaced,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said Friday.
At issue is legislation Walker signed last month overhauling campaign finance laws and allowing corporations, unions and Indian tribes to give money to political parties and campaign committees controlled by legislative leaders. This week, a spokesman for the accountability board, which administers that law, issued a statement saying those contributions don’t have to be disclosed publicly.
“The board or Legislature may review this issue later, but until then there is no registration or finance reporting required by the segregated funds,” Richard Bohringer, a campaign auditor with the accountability board, wrote in an email to political parties last week.
But on Friday, Joseph Kreye of the Legislative Reference Bureau disputed that finding in a memo to Vos. The reference bureau is a nonpartisan agency that drafts legislation for lawmakers.
Full Article: Two agencies at odds on whether law allows secret donations.