What’s in store for the state Government Accountability Board? The state elections and ethics agency is in the crosshairs of Republican leaders in the legislature. Jay Heck heads Common Cause in Wisconsin.
“Every Republican in 2007 that was in the legislature voted for it, including Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald,” said Heck. “But the problem is, the GAB doesn’t do what they want.” And what they want, Heck believes, is for things to go their way.
The GAB is composed of six retired judges, who make decisions on a non-partisan basis. “That’s what it’s supposed to do,” Heck said. “It’s not supposed to please the partisans. It’s supposed to be independent and nonpartisan.”
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has pledged to make changes at the GAB. “They’re attacking a state agency that is entrusted with being nonpartisan and being independent,” Heck said. “If they suddenly make it partisan and dependent on the Republican leadership, then no citizen in the state is going to have confidence in the GAB. And I think that would be a real problem for Republicans in the ling run.
Governor Scott Walker has indicated that changes to the GAB are not among his priorities for a second term. “Governor Walker could play a big role in this. It would be helpful if he would come out and stand for keeping the GAB intact,” Heck said.