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Editorial: Political appointees wrong for Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board

11:51 AM, Dec. 4, 2012  |  Comments
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald
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What we need in our elections is more politics.

Specifically, what we need in the nonpartisan state agency that oversees our elections is more politics.

That's the view of incoming state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau. He wants to replace the retired judges who make up the Government Accountability Board with political appointees.

It's a terrible idea.

Fitzgerald told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the GAB isn't "working out the way it's supposed to" and added, "I just don't think there's an independent voice at all."

The GAB was formed five years ago, merging the elections and ethics board, as a way to make both boards stronger. The panel of retired judges was put in charge of it to ensure objectivity.

But when the board has made decisions that legislators didn't like, it has been criticized - each party has taken shots at it.

So, instead of the GAB being governed by nonpartisan, highly respected judges, Fitzgerald wants it to be governed by people who got the job through political means. That works against the public interest.

And that's the whole point of the Government Accountability Board. It exists to make sure our government - our elections and the ethics of those who represent us - is accountable to the people it purports to serve.

Who do you think a GAB made up of political appointees would serve?

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