Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


Assembly Republicans flip flop on ethics bill

State Republican legislators who helped kill Senate Bill 1, the ethics reform bill, are now claiming to be supportive of the measure. It's no surprise that this comes just weeks before an election being dominated by that very issue.

To refresh our memories, recall that the State Senate passed the bill overwhelmingly on a vote of 28-5 back in November of last year, and Gov. Jim Doyle said he would sign it. Assembly Republicans killed the bill back in May on a 45-51 vote.

Assembly Speaker John Gard (now running for Congress), brushed off the need for the bill in this quote from the local daily a few weeks before the vote:

"The fact of the matter is we have the toughest ethics laws in America," Gard said. "Those laws were enforced in Wisconsin, and people were convicted and are being punished. Combining the ethics and elections boards is a whole 'nother discussion."

Starting last year, five ex-legislators - former Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala (D-Madison), former Sen. Brian Burke (D-Milwaukee), former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen (R-Town of Brookfield), former Assembly Majority Leader Steven Foti (R-Oconomowoc) and former Rep. Bonnie Ladwig (R-Racine) - were convicted of misconduct or ethics violations.

Ellis said Assembly Republicans view his bill as an attack on Jensen, who faces sentencing May 16.

"They haven't accepted the fact that what Jensen did was wrong and if they were to pass this, they would have to come to grips with reality and admit what he did was wrong," he said.

Among other reforms, the bill would combine the state Elections and Ethics boards to create an independent Government Accountability Board.

SB 1 history here.


Post a Comment

<< Home