Watchdog Groups Decry Effort to Abolish Legislative Audit Bureau
Thursday, June 11, 2015
MADISON, Wis. – Calling it a partisan attempt to eliminate an independent entity that can identify and investigate political corruption in Wisconsin, Common Cause and two other watchdog groups have condemned a proposal to eliminate the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau.
Jay Heck, director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, says the proposal is payback for a recent high profile report from the bureau, critical of mismanagement at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
The report pointed out things such as a $700,000 loan to an aviation company that was never repaid, lack of oversight and other mismanagement.
"That report resulted in this partisan attempt to destroy the Legislative Audit Bureau in much the same way that partisans in the legislature have attempted to destroy the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, another nonpartisan entity watchdog in our state," Heck stresses.
The proposal would also empower the Joint Committee on Legislative Organization, now run by Republicans, to appoint an inspector general in each large state agency for a six-year term.
The inspector general for the Department of Justice would be authorized to audit the records of any state agency, any municipality or school district.
Matt Rothschild of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign called that "an invitation to a statewide partisan witch hunt."
The Republicans behind the proposal, Reps. Adam Jarchow of Clear Lake and David Craig of Big Bend, say the proposal would improve oversight of all government agencies, but Heck disagrees.
"Just by the very words that they've used to describe the Legislative Audit Bureau and why they want to replace it, I think tipped their hand that this is not a sincere attempt to improve scrutiny of agency wrongdoing, but rather to mask it up and cover it and make sure that the partisans are able to control the message," he states.
Andrea Kaminski, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, says the state does not need more partisan politics in government. She says the state needs just the opposite, calling for more objective checks and balances to protect the people of Wisconsin from partisan politics.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
A bill moving through the Kentucky Legislature would make fluoride treatment in drinking water optional for local municipalities. House Bill 141 …
New York state lawmakers have appointed members to the Community Commission on Reparations Remedies, created through legislation Gov. Kathy Hochul …
A new report argued many charitable foundations need to examine the origin of their wealth and repair harms done. The National Committee for …
A proposed urban reforestation program in Massachusetts aims to help cities mitigate the effects of climate change. Legislation would create a state …
A Wyoming nonprofit is helping single mothers climb out of poverty by connecting them with the training and support they need to step into and succeed…
Even though March is barely underway, parents of Wisconsin kids are being encouraged to plan for summer reading activities - especially if their …
A law aimed at immigrants crossing the border in Texas will not take effect tomorrow, after a federal judge halted enforcement until a court battle …
Minnesota already has a law calling for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040. Now, there's a similar plan for transportation, and a legislative …