Well, to the surprise of no one, the folks at the misnamed Wisconsin Government Accountability Board didn’t wait until Election Day to beclown themselves this year.
Also not surprising, it involved election mischief in Racine.
Let’s set the stage. On Friday, the Racine Journal Times reported that the Racine Parks and Rec Board would be giving away Brewers tickets today. RightWisconsin’s Collin Roth did what the mainstream press couldn’t or wouldn’t do: he connected the dots.
He understood that this sudden ticket give away would betaking place one Election Day. At a polling place. He also reported the fact that one of the candidates for School Board in Racine, Mike Frontier, also serves on the Park and Rec Board. You know, the organization giving away Brewers tickets.
But Reid Magney, spokesman for the state’s Government Accountability Board, said it doesn’t appear to be a problem.
There would be an issue if the organizers were giving out tickets only to people who voted," he said in an email. "But it does not say that."
Really? So someone could announce they are giving away $10 bills in envelopes outside polling locations an as long as they don’t say it’s tied to the other big activity at those locations, there is no problem.
To most Wisconsinites, regardless of political affiliation, this is laughable on its face.
But to the folks at the GAB, initial reaction is a shrug of the shoulders.
As outrage mounted, however, the GAB reversed course and by Monday, they were working to cancel the polling location give-away. The tickets will be distributed today at the Park and Rec offices instead.
But back to the GAB.
Here’s yet another example why lawmakers must dismantle this dysfunctional board before the next election season begins.
One guy on a Friday issues a statement regarding a massive and obvious breach of election law without conducting any sort of investigation.
And to the press, that’s the word of not only the election law prosecutors, but the judge and jury, too.
When liberals are accused of election impropriety, even when the malfeasance is as obvious as the freebies at the polls scandal in Racine, a GAB spokesperson rushes out to give them cover. No meeting of the GAB members (who, as retired judges, have some credibility on the law wherein Magney has none) is necessary. Just a quick "nothing to see here, move along" type grant of immunity in the court of public opinion.
For some unknown reason, the GAB is empowered to investigate, prosecute and then issue judgment on all things campaign finance in Wisconsin. Their procedures are arbitrary and secretive and the employees of the GAB are given wide discretion over their own partisan actions (Remember this story of the partisan GAB staff?)
GAB Executive Director Kevin Kennedy and his spokesperson Magney understand how much their word sways not only their Board, but the press as well. Simple statements, no matter if they are as uninformed or uninterested as Magney’s initial comment on the most recent Racine matter, shape a story weeks, if not months, before the retired judges on the GAB ever meet to review complaints.
Often, election infractions need immediate action, something the current GAB is incapable of providing.
In those cases, all the public has to rely on are the statements from GAB staff. Staff that has proven to be inclined to give liberals the benefit of the doubt at all times.
Lawmakers should admit they made a huge mistake when they created the GAB.
It's not just the incompetent individuals working at the GAB that are the problem. It is the entire construct that needs to be disbanded and reworked. Enforcement of election law is no better now than when the old Elections and Ethics Board operated independently of each other. If anything, things are much worse.
The GAB is a partisan sham and should be dissolved as soon as possible.