GOP bills will gut watchdog agency, hamper investigations
By State Rep. Peter Barca
Last week Republicans passed bills to make Wisconsin open for corruption.
First, Republicans voted to decimate our state’s campaign finance laws by enabling individuals and corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money campaigning, in many cases without any disclosure of their identity. Also – for the first time in modern Wisconsin history – corporations would be able to give unlimited money directly to political parties and campaign committees.
Second, Republicans voted to dismantle our non-partisan Government Accountability Board (GAB) and turn our elections and ethics watchdogs into partisan lapdogs. Perhaps worse, they have to ask for funds from the Finance Committee to launch major investigations, in some cases from the people they would be investigating.
Third, Republicans passed what many have called the “Corrupt Politician Protection Act” because it exempts political crimes from John Doe investigations, while other crimes are still included.
This week, Republicans plan to undermine our civil service system and open the door for corruption and cronyism during an administration already rocked by scandal.
When I talk to people and around the state, not one person has ever told me they want corporations to have an ever greater influence over our government.
No one has ever told me we should have partisan control over our election process.
No one has ever told me we should make it easier for political corruption to go undetected and unprosecuted or that we should open the door to more cronyism in state government.
With these new extreme changes, I fear for the ability of everyday citizens to have a say in their government.
As Republicans open the door for corruption, the door on Wisconsin’s era of clean, open and transparent government has been slammed shut.
I hope Wisconsin citizens will call their legislators before the Senate takes action on these horrendous bills.