21.02.2018
Wisconsin Republicans fire top state officials as payback for investigating Gov. Scott Walker

Wisconsin Republicans fire top state officials as payback for investigating Gov. Scott Walker

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been remarkably quiet since his painfully brief presidential campaign, but in private he and the rest of the state's governing Republicans have continued to loosen screws and saw through cables in an effort to make a shamble of whatever's left in the government to shamble-ize.

Wisconsin Republicans voted Tuesday to remove the state’s top election and ethics officials, despite looming state and federal elections.

Led by Republicans in a vote along party lines, the state Senate voted to oust Ethics Administrator Brian Bell and Elections Administrator Michael Haas from their respective roles by denying to confirm them on a permanent basis. Both men did not get a customary public hearing before the vote.

You may wonder why the state Senate felt the need for that bit of disruption, or what Bell and Hass did to piss Republicans off; you needn't bother. Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald was explicit in stating that the two were being removed from their post for their past role in investigating Gov. Scott Walker's alleged (and very illegal) coordination with outside campaign groups. The state's Republican-held Supreme Court preemptively shuttered that Walker probe, and Republicans have in these last several years dedicated themselves to retribution against individuals connected to it. That is the reason state Republicans are removing them, and there is no other.

“I can’t have confidence in an agency that still is employing some of the individuals that were there [the Government Accountability Board],” [Fitzgerald] told the Wisconsin State Journal on Tuesday. [...]

He said he also wants lawmakers to get rid of the positions of two civil servant lawyers at the ethics and elections commission who worked at the Government Accountability Board.

“It’s just hard to develop any type of cooperative relationship or establish credibility as long as some of those people are over there,” he said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

So it should again be noted that the Republican Party drive to retaliate against and/or criminalize investigations into possible illegal acts by their leaders was not something invented by Donald Trump; he just happened to be an authoritarian-minded loudmouth who could best express the party's emerging position on such things. Scott Walker was making a mockery of our election laws before Donald ever became a candidate, and Wisconsin Republicans were helping him do it long before Paul Ryan was studiously ignoring the new line of supplicants paying cash to Donald Trump for the opportunity to bend his ear at Mar-a-Lago. And Scott Fitzgerald is, apparently, a walking grudge shaped like a man.