July 30, 2014

Assembly speaker denies investigation of lawmaker politically motivated

A state lawmaker claims politics is a driving factor behind an investigation by Capitol Police, although the speaker of the state Assembly says that’s unlikely.

Capitol Police revealed this week that investigators are looking into reports that state Representative Brett Hulsey (D-Madison) brought a box cutter into his office and also threatened to bring a gun on to the Assembly floor. The complaints came from a staff member in Hulsey’s office, who raised concerns about “erratic” behavior from the Madison Democrat.

That staff member is currently on vacation and is expected to move to another office. Hulsey says he has reached out to her and is “sorry she feels that way.”

AUDIO: Rep. Brett Hulsey (:08)

Hulsey has also claimed the investigation is based on politics, indicating it could be retribution over his opposition to the mining bill and a complaint lodged with the US Department of Health and Human Services over proposed Medicaid changes. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) on Wednesday denied that’s the case, noting that the investigation was prompted after Hulsey’s aide brought the issue to Assembly Democratic leadership.

Vos said that while Hulsey’s behavior could be described as “odd,” there was nothing criminal about it and he doesn’t see any disciplinary action coming out of the Assembly. Vos said Hulsey needs to answer to the people who elected him.

AUDIO: Speaker Robin Vos (:15)

Hulsey says his actions were an attempt to get a workplace safety plan in place and to get the Capitol Police chief to provide staff with self defense training. He says the questions about bringing a gun on to the Assembly floor were meant to highlight Republican policies that allows weapons in the Capitol, since he opposes their presence in state buildings.