Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fitzgerald's Proposal Leaves State GABsmacked

After the caucus scandals rocked the state a decade ago, both parties came together and worked in a bipartisan fashion to create the Government Accountability Board (GAB). The GAB was created to replace the Elections and Ethics Board, which was so dysfunctional that it didn't even investigate the crimes for which five people had been convicted in a court of law.

Now, State Senator Scott Fitzgerald (R-Arkham)has decided that he doesn't like the way the GAB is working, even though he was a full supporter of it when it was created. His beef is that he thinks that it is partisan and favors the Democrats, meaning that it won't let the Republicans do whatever the hell they want to do.

His brilliant idea on how to fix his misperception is to make the non-partisan board less partisan by replacing the non-partisan judges with partisan activists.

Yeah, I'll let that sink in for a minute.

This idea was immediately panned, not just by the Democrats, but by neutral, outside observers:
A professor specializing in election law who has studied the accountability board bemoaned the proposal.

"I think that's about the worst idea I've heard this year," said Daniel Tokaji, a professor at Ohio State University Moritz College of Law who has written about Wisconsin's accountability board.

"I'm not surprised to see a partisan politician try to wrest power from the GAB. It's unfortunate, but not surprising," he said.

He called the accountability board a national model, saying it does a much better job than the partisan secretaries of state who run elections in many other states.

"The umpire is a player for one of the teams" in those states, Tokaji said.
Senator Chris Larson continued with the sports analogies by comparing Fitzgerald's proposal to the replacement referees that made the beginning of the NFL season such a farce.

I think it would be closer to the truth if you combined the two analogies. It would be more like the replacement refs, but having them picked out by the two sides.

Brian Fraley, in an obvious effort at doing some damage control, became desperate himself. In an article that he got published at Red State, Fraley starts grasping at straws. Some of the arguments that he used to support Fitzgerald's folly was the ridiculous claim that names like Adolph Hitler and Mickey Mouse would be accepted by the GAB, even though no such names were submitted. He also pointed out the work of the fallacious True the Vote, which proved to inaccurate at best. Fraley also adds in the allegations of voter fraud which were totally debunked by the Racine County District Attorney's Office.

The Democrats blasted Fitzgerald's proposal as yet another partisan power grab by the Republicans. And rightfully so.

It's quite obvious that Fitzgerald's proposal has nothing to do with creating jobs, fixing the economy or saving taxpayer money. What Fitzgerald is proposing is an effort to further stack the deck in the Republicans' favor, just like with their gerrymandering and voter suppression.

One might think that since the Republicans control both houses of the legislature, the governor's office, the attorney general's office and the majority on the State Supreme Court, it would seem that Fitzgerald's complaints about the GAB rings false.

I would have to agree.

But it might be the fact that the elections the Republicans could not control, the one for president and U.S. Senate, which were handily won by President Barack Obama and Senator-Elect Tammy Baldwin, that the Republican agenda is not only not working, but an increasing number of people are rejecting it, and the Republicans, which is making Fitzgerald so uneasy.

Then again, Fitzgerald might also have underlying reasons of a personal nature for his proposal.

Keep in mind that it is Fitzgerald's campaign fund raiser and special friend, Judith Rhodes Engels who has her name all wrapped up in Walkergate, the second version of the caucus scandals.

Rhodes Engels was riding with Walker during his last Harley Davidson campaign tour of the state. It was also Rhodes Engels who was found to be giving Walker's Kelly Rindfleisch all the information regarding Fitzgerald's campaign donors.

Furthermore it was Engels Rhodes who partook in a series of secret emails regarding the state function of redistricting, or in this case, gerrymandering. And Rhodes Engels has been observed many times coming and going from Fitzgerald's office in the Capitol Building.

Fitzgerald's proposal might not be just another power grab, but it might very well be a CYA maneuver to protect himself and his special friend/fund raiser.

It's ironic how Fitzgerald now wants to change the GAB - which he voted for to deal with things like the caucus scandal - possibly in order to avoid responsibility for the caucus scandal-like behavior that he and his staff have participated in.


  1. Fraley is such a useless hack. He also conveniently failed to mention at Redstate that two of the appointees lean Republican. What an asshat.

    1. Two of the appointees lean Republican? Are you referring to the current GAB Board?

      Two of the six previously served in the WI Assembly and were elected as Republicans; a third was an elected DA, elected as a Republican; two (including the DA) were appointed to the Board by Walker; and the last two were first appointed to their judgeships by Republican governors.

      (And note that I am in no way saying that they have shown a Republican bias. I watched a couple of their meetings via internet stream during the recalls, and they were at all times fair and diligent and professional.)

  2. Appointees would be ok if a bunch of retired judges or some other independent, non-partisan group appointed them.