Friday, May 05, 2006

Selective Memory on Ethics Reform Bill

Reps. Frank Lasee (R-Bellevue) and Al Ott (R-Forest Junction) both initially voted "yes" to bringing the ethics reform bill to the Assembly floor for a vote, but then each asked that their votes get changed to "no" after the vote took place.

Interestingly, when a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (WDC) member called Lasee's office to ask how he voted, a Lasee spokesperson claimed he voted "yes" and referenced the roll call vote as proof. Since Lasee changed his vote after the initial vote was recorded, the roll call conveniently shows that he voted "yes" despite his change of heart.

And when the WDC member called Ott's office, a staffer there insisted that a vote never took place on the ethics reform bill. It appears Ott is taking the view of Rep. Terri McCormick (R-Appleton), who made the claim that the vote that took place doesn't count because it was a "procedural maneuver," not a real vote.

See no evil, hear no evil.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kinda like this?

WEDNESDAY, May 3, 2006, 1:27 p.m.

By Stacy Forster and Patrick Marley

Ghosts of caucus scandal haunt Capitol again
Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) and other Democrats spent nearly an hour railing on Assembly Republican leaders for not bringing a major ethics reform bill to the floor.

And as they did so, aides to Republican leaders were quietly distributing to reporters copies of a roll call vote from Oct. 17, 2001. That’s when the Assembly voted to eliminate the controversial caucus staffs, which were doing campaign activity on state time for members of both parties in both houses.

Pocan was among the eight Democrats who voted against eliminating the caucuses; he was joined by Reps. Frank Boyle of Superior, Jon Richards of Milwaukee, Marlin Schneider of Wisconsin Rapids, Gary Sherman of Port Wing, Tony Staskunas of West Allis, Leon Young of Milwaukee, and then-Rep. Spencer Coggs, now a state senator from Milwaukee.

The caucuses were abolished after an investigation was launched into using Capitol aides to campaign on state time. Five lawmakers -- three Republican representatives and two Democratic senators -- were convicted in recent months.

Court testimony and investigative reports suggest a number of other lawmakers -- including Pocan -- participated in campaign meetings in the Capitol and other improper activities.

Schneider, who has served in the Assembly since 1970, spoke on the floor Tuesday night about the need for the caucuses and the critical services they provided.

“When I started here we had caucus staff that provided us with assistance, good assistance,” Schneider said. “They provided us with press releases. They provided us with documents at campaign time. Not just us, but candidates, so they could be advised and educated on some of the issues, so when they went out to the League of Women Voters debates…they at least had some idea about what the issues are. This place has gone stark raving mad.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Terri McCormick (R-Appleton), a supporter of the reform bill, sent Assembly Speaker John Gard (R-Peshtigo) a letter today asking that he convene a special session to take up the bill. She said Pocan’s effort to pull the bill to the floor for a vote -- which failed 53-43 -- did not accurately reflect support for the bill because lawmakers generally follow party lines on such procedural votes.

Indeed, some Republicans who previously said they supported the bill voted against bringing it up for a vote. Among them was Rep. Steve Freese (R-Dodgeville), who briefly threatened last week to give up his job as speaker pro tem if Republicans didn’t allow a vote on it.

May 05, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

No, not like that.

In one case a legislator voted against a bill openly and on the record.

In the other instance, two legislators voted against even allowing a bill to come up for a vote, and then refused to acknowledge the next day ever making those votes.

There's nothing unethical about voting against a bill. But it is unethical to change your vote on a bill after roll call, and then have your office make people believe you didn't change your vote (Lasee) or that a vote never took place (Ott).

May 05, 2006  

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