A top Republican in the state Assembly says it’s clear the former Government Accountability Board was far from being the model elections agency that advocates claimed it was.
An investigation by the state Department of Justice found GAB staff failed to secure records from an investigation into Governor Scott Walker’s campaign and conservative groups. The probe was eventually halted by the state Supreme Court, but those documents were leaked to The Guardian newspaper. While the DOJ could not determine who sent them, Attorney General Brad Schimel believes it happened because of the lack of security at the GAB.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) called the revelations an embarrassment for the entire state. “We heard for literally a decade that the GAB was a model of the way that government was supposed to operate, and now we see that it was really the exact opposite,” Vos said. “It was really a travesty of justice – people literally going on a witch hunt with a political vendetta.”
The DOJ is recommending a former GAB attorney face disciplinary action, and that prosecutors and several former staff members face contempt charges. Vos agreed that staff should face penalties. “I think the next step is to bring justice,” he argued.
Republicans voted to eliminate the GAB in 2015, replacing it was separate ethics and elections agencies. Vos said he believes those new agencies were set up in such a way that such an abuse of power cannot be repeated.