MADISON, Wis. — A review of the online donation page of a fundraising appeal to help defray family expenses of Milwaukee County Supervisor Deanna Alexander reveals she has netted $7,000 from two “anonymous” donors. Last week, One Wisconsin Now filed an ethics complaint with the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office and the Ethics Board citing the County Ethics code’s prohibition on public officials using their position for their or their immediate family’s benefit. Alexander had linked to the webpage with the fundraising appeal from her “public figure” social media page.
“When elected, Milwaukee County Supervisors take an oath to abide by the ethics code for exactly the reasons we see here,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “People should be able to trust, and verify, that county elected officials are acting in their best interests. Associating your public position with fundraising appeals for family expenses and accepting large, ostensibly anonymous donations for them is absolutely antithetical to the public’s ability to do that.”
Ross noted that as a County Supervisor, Alexander has oversight of a budget that annually spends $1.3 billion in taxpayer funds. The Milwaukee County Board is in fact now poised to consider overrides of budget vetoes made by the County Executive affecting public safety, the quality of parks and senior citizens’ access to public transit. A veto override requires a board supermajority and would potentially allow Alexander and a handful of supervisors to block action.
The identities of the $6,000 and $1,000 donors helping pay Alexander’s family bills are listed as anonymous online. But there is no way of knowing whether or not Sup. Alexander is in fact aware of their identity or if they have any interests that could be affected by her public position.
“These large, secret donations further darken the ethical cloud Sup. Alexander has put herself under with her actions. Elected officials using their public positions to gain private benefits doesn’t just give the appearance of corruption, it’s plainly prohibited. We hope the authorities will move quickly to review our complaint and enforce the law,” concluded Ross.