Thursday, September 23, 2021

Play

States are poised to help resettle Afghan evacuees who fled their home country after the U.S. military exit; efforts emerge to help Native Americans gain more clean energy independence.

Play

Sen. Mitch McConnell refuses to support raising the debt ceiling; Biden administration pledges $500 million of COVID vaccine doses globally; and U.S. military says it's taking steps to combat sexual assault.

Play

A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

More Special Treatment for Wisconsin Politicians?

Play

Wednesday, August 26, 2015   

MADISON, Wis. - Late last week, a state Assembly committee advanced a bill that would prevent prosecutors from investigating politicians using a John Doe probe. The legislation could be taken up by the full Legislature this fall.

Opponents of the bill, including Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, say this is a particularly bad piece of legislation.

"Pretty shocking that politicians in Madison are trying to carve our something that will benefit them but no one else," Heck said. "If you're engaged in political shenanigans, the John Doe tool will not be available to prosecutors."

Twice, Gov. Scott Walker has been the subject of a John Doe probe, which prompts some to say the bill is political payback. The Republican authors of the bill say it will lead to greater accountability in government.

"How that makes politicians more accountable is just laughable," Heck said. "If anything, this will make them able to get away with stuff that they've not been able to get away with in the past."

Republicans say political crimes still could be investigated, but not within the framework of a John Doe probe.

Heck and other clean-government advocates point out that the state's John Doe law dates back to the days when Wisconsin was a territory. The law led to uncovering one of the biggest political scandals in state history, the so-called "caucus scandal" of 2001, which resulted in criminal charges against a number of high-profile Wisconsin politicians in both parties.

"There shouldn't be special treatment for people who are engaged in politics and are breaking the law, as opposed to people who are not engaged in politics and might be breaking the law," Heck said. "We should all be treated the same."

According to Republican supporters, the John Doe process has been abused. Heck said this bill is political payback, pointing out that the first John Doe probe involving Walker resulted in convictions of six of his associates when he was Milwaukee County executive.

"It's a little bit like saying, 'If you leave me alone, trust me, nothing bad will happen,' " Heck said, "and of course we know in politics that when people aren't being watched and there isn't transparency, that's when bad things do happen."

Details of the bill, 2015 AB 68, are online at docs.legis.wisconsin.gov.


get more stories like this via email

Political canvassing across the country dropped dramatically during the 2020 election due to concerns over COVID-19 transmission via in-person door-knocking. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

LEWISBURG, W.Va. -- Political canvassers and organizers in the state are expecting they will continue to struggle with challenges to traditional …


Environment

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- A federal court agreed with conservationists this week, ordering winter feeding of elk on the Bridger-Teton National Forest …

Social Issues

FARGO, N.D. -- In the near future, North Dakota is poised to help resettle 49 Afghan evacuees who fled their home country after the U.S. military …


Local opposition to the proposed land swap was strong before the Idaho Department of Lands rejected the deal. (PNS/Corbeil)

Environment

MCCALL, Idaho -- After the rejection of a developer's proposed land swap near Payette Lake, a coalition of groups wants the state to do the opposite…

Health and Wellness

DENVER -- Colorado's ability to respond to COVID-19 was blunted by decades of disinvestment in critical public services, according to a new report…

Beginning in 2022, Nebraska's Department of Education will begin offering farm-to-school producer training in various regions of the state. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

GERING, Neb. -- With school back in session, many Nebraska students will be fueled by fresh beef, fruits and vegetables sourced from local farms…

Social Issues

By Abaki Beck for Yes!Media.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Minnesota News Connection reporting for the YES! Media-Public News Service …

Environment

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Farm bureaus and agricultural leaders of Chesapeake Bay watershed states are pushing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund a …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021