MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-led legislature have what they believe is a cure for the rampant cronyism and corruption that has plagued the state on their watch – eliminate the laws of which they’ve found themselves alleged to have run afoul. In a secret event today at which the media and public were excluded, Walker signed legislation to gut state campaign finance laws and eviscerate state ethics and elections oversight.
“Gov. Walker has led an administration that has attacked clean and open government from day one, rife with systematic cronyism and corruption,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Instead of cleaning up his act and the acts of the people that work for him, he and the Republican led legislature concocted a scheme to get rid of anti-corruption laws and people to enforce them.”
Measures Walker signed in to law today to protect himself and his gang from being held accountable for ethical transgressions are:
- Eliminating the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board, responsible for the enforcement of election and ethics laws and replacing it with a new partisan model based on the wildly ineffective Federal Elections Commission;
- Hiding the employer information about big campaign contributors from the public;
- Eliminating Wisconsin’s over century old ban on direct corporate contributions in state elections.
Gov. Walker’s previous shameful ethical exploits include the criminal convictions of six close aides and associates for violations ranging from embezzlement and laundering of campaign contributions to illegal campaigning on public time. According to prosecutors Walker himself was at the center of that they described as a “criminal scheme” to evade what were state campaign finance laws preventing coordination between campaigns and outside groups.
Research by One Wisconsin Institute found businesses whose owners, directors or employees contributed to the campaign of Scott Walker received over sixty percent of dollars awarded by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Meanwhile media reports uncovered how a risky $500,000 loan that never should have been given found it’s way to a $10,000 contributor to Gov. Walker’s 2010 campaign under direct pressure from his Secretary of the Department of Administration and his then chief of staff. The business has gone under, the loan was never repaid and subsequent investigations have shown basic safeguards for issuing loans were ignored and supporting documents were riddled with false or incomplete information.
Ross concluded, “No one has been more brazen than Gov. Walker and the GOP legislature in manipulating the rules to gain an unfair partisan advantage and preventing themselves from being held accountable under the law for crossing ethical lines. This is yet another sad milestone in their relentless pursuit of power.”