The District Attorney who prosecuted the Capitol Corruption Scandal says there are fundamental flaws with an ethics reform bill being considered by lawmakers. During a Senate committee hearing on the ethics legislation Thursday, Dane County DA Brian Blanchard raised a series of concerns, such as how the bill allows public officials accused of corruption to be tried in their county of residence instead of where the crime was committed. Blanchard says such a system goes against how any other crime is prosecuted in our court system.
That concern was shared by former Milwaukee County District Attorney Michael McCann. He says the proposed system could result in many corruption charges never being investigated because smaller counties don't have the proper resources.
Blanchard also raised concerns about a provision overturning the entire bill if any portion is ruled unconstitutional. The non-severability clause has been an issue of contention with several lawmakers, such as Sen. Mike Ellis (R-Neenah). Ellis says it makes no sense to throw out all the hard work on the legislation based on one small problem. An amendment currently offered to the bill would simply reinstate the Ethics and Elections Boards if it is ever overturned.
Senate and Assembly committees are expected to vote on the ethics reform bill next week, along with at least 15 amendments that are currently being offered.