MADISON, Wis. — State Rep. Robin Vos (R-Burlington) is still refusing to disclose who is paying the legal fees for him to appeal a judge’s decision to block implementation of the Republican Voter ID bill. In response to an ethics complaint filed against Vos and Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer (I-Manitowoc) by One Wisconsin Now’s Executive Director Scot Ross over the legal fees in their joint filing in the case, Ziegelbauer announced late Tuesday he is withdrawing from the case.
“Rep. Vos is one of the state’s most powerful members of the legislature and he knows he is prohibited by law from accepting free legal counsel,” said Ross. “Now that Ziegelbauer has dropped out of the case, it raises the stakes exponentially that Rep. Vos come clean immediately.”
Under state law, elected officials are prohibited from accepting payments by means of legal expenses unless they are able to prove that those expenses are unrelated to their public office. With Rep. Vos seeking re-election in District 63 this fall, based on One Wisconsin Now’s complaint, accepting free legal counsel in an election law related case would be a clear violation of state ethics law.
One of the two lawyers who have filed on behalf of Vos and Ziegelbauer is from the firm Michael Best & Frederich, the same firm that provided the scandal-plagued Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Mike Gableman with free legal advice. MBF has been paid at least $400,000 this legislative session to help Vos and the Republicans draw the state’s legislative boundaries.
“Rep. Vos demands accountability of school children, poor people and seniors scraping by on fixed incomes,” said Ross. “But Rep. Vos doesn’t think the rules apply to him.”