EDITORIAL: GAB: Keep it independent - Beloit Daily News: Opinion

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EDITORIAL: GAB: Keep it independent

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Posted: Monday, December 19, 2011 4:00 pm

Idea of returning to partisan model is repugnant.

SUGGESTION FOR Gov. Scott Walker: Tying a gag around the mouth of Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald might be helpful in your battle against recall.

That’s because every time Fitzgerald starts yapping, it seems, this key ally of the governor makes his side appear more extreme and hyper-partisan.

The latest case in point: The speaker launched into a rant against the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board, ripping into its handling of the recall petitioning process. That’s OK — it’s no crime to question decisions made by any government entity. But then Fitzgerald crossed the line. He talked about changing the independent GAB into a partisan board — one appointed by the party in power, presumably, in this instance by the governor, the speaker and his brother Scott Fitzgerald, majority leader of the Senate.

ARE YOU KIDDING? We certainly hope so. That idea is beyond idiotic. It would scrap what stands as one of the few bipartisan, good government initiatives enacted in the past decade.

Readers should recall the GAB was created following disclosure of a sleazy partisan scheme designed to kneecap a Republican opponent to then-Gov. Jim Doyle, at a time when Democrats held sway over the GAB’s predecessor, the state ethics and elections boards. The Assembly and Senate, in near-unanimous bipartisan voting, decided to abandon the partisan model and create the independent and nonpartisan GAB. This board consists of six former judges, selected not only for their experience and expertise, but also for the absence of partisan ties. The GAB has been touted as a national model.

So what’s Fitzgerald’s beef? Some rulings are not going his way. One suspects Fitzgerald doesn’t want a fair referee between warring political tribes. He wants a homer.

LOOK, THERE’S NOTHING WRONG with challenging decisions of the GAB. In fact, Republicans have filed a lawsuit in Waukesha County doing just that, asking the courts to order the GAB to ramp up scrutiny of potential fake or duplicate signatures on recall petitions. Judicial review of GAB rulings provides reasonable checks and balances to the process, always positive in the pursuit of better government.

But the speaker’s disappointing call to abolish independence and restore partisanship is contemptible. At all levels, these days, government needs less partisanship and more independence. Politicians who fail to get that deserve to become ex-politicians at the voters’ earliest opportunity.

Fitzgerald’s loose lips create blowback that does Walker no favors. Clearly, that’s not what the governor needs now.

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  • billtinder posted at 5:28 pm on Tue, Dec 20, 2011.

    billtinder Posts: 4908

    When Walker balanced the budget on the backs of the public employees, I didn't like it but I viewed it as necessary. You have to stay within your means after all. but since then I haven't found anything that can be construed as beneficial to Wisconsin or it's citizens, be they conservative or liberal; that's surfaced from Madison. All I see is a lot of mean spirited, partisan crony capitalism in everything they're doing. I don't like the idea of opening a Pandora's box of continuous recall elections, but that doesn't change the fact that these idiots are making every effort to justify the one currently at hand. There are no Jedi's in Madison, just two competing dark-sides of the force. And a bitter reminder that sometimes I put my loyalties in the wrong place.[sad]

  • dawn07 posted at 7:34 pm on Mon, Dec 19, 2011.

    dawn07 Posts: 125

    "Beyond idiotic." You are right on, BDN.

  • Delavan Mike posted at 6:28 pm on Mon, Dec 19, 2011.

    Delavan Mike Posts: 1295

    I agree with Mr. Barth and both posters so far. Sometimes I wonder who is more power hungry, Walker or the Fitzgeralds.

  • Mentor397 posted at 5:13 pm on Mon, Dec 19, 2011.

    Mentor397 Posts: 1642

    The problem is that none of these politicians - Republican, Democrat, or Independent, seem capable of seeing past their own noses in regard to the future. Eventually, the pendulum of politics will swing the other way and then they will cry that the advantages they gave to the party in power give too much advantage to the party in power.

  • beloit51 posted at 4:56 pm on Mon, Dec 19, 2011.

    beloit51 Posts: 1639

    These Fittzgeralds are the Problem In Madison government.Such childish antic's,worse should have these "leader's" ousted.They do not want democratic government,they desire,er demand "Our way Or The Highway".Don't get run over fleeing the state.Our Government was here long before you two clown's and will certainly be here after you flop."Government By The People,For The People",Remember ?

    "Your Humble Servant"


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