The Assembly's top leader was among a national group of lawmakers who took a free trip with lobbyists to London — an August excursion that contributed to the resignation Tuesday of his counterpart in Ohio.
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) defended taking the free trip and said he followed state ethics laws in accepting it.
Cliff Rosenberger, the speaker of the Ohio House, said this week he was stepping down amid an FBI investigation that is reportedly looking at the four-day trip to England and other issues….
The Aug. 28-31 London trip was paid for by the conservative GOPAC Education Fund, one of a range of groups that help pay for educational conferences for state lawmakers, from the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures to the liberal State Innovation Network and the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council. Though such trips are relatively common, a choice international destination like London isn't the norm.
The “free trip from GOPAC” part is bad enough, but Marley and Stein leave the real juicy connection to the end of the article.
Two out-of-state lobbyists for title lender LoanMax, Steve Dimon and Leslie Gaines, were also on the trip. LoanMax is not registered to lobby in Wisconsin, but the title loan industry has long lobbied in Wisconsin and in the past Vos has sponsored measures to loosen state regulations on the industry.And that's why I call him ROBBIN’ Vos.
What can I sell off this time?
Oh, and note the timing of that trip – late August, when the Wisconsin state budget was 2 months overdue and the new school year was starting up without districts knowing how much money they’d get from the state. Nice to know what issues Wee Wobbin' found to be a bigger priority with at the time, isn’t it?
After this story, I definitely hope that weasel tries to run for Ryan’s seat in Congress. First, it seems likely that more Swampy deals from Vos’s speakership will be uncovered over the next 7 months, and drag down other Republicans in the Assembly. "Free trips from lobbyists from the payday loan industry" is also the kind of thing that makes a whiner like Vos with already-negative charisma become even more unattractive to casual voters in the rest of the state. That could be a big deal in a race that may well be in toss-up territory in November.
As I mentioned yesterday, clearing Ryan, Walker and Vos out of any role in Wisconsin politics by January 2019 would be a massive gust of fresh air for a state. And God knows we need things to be cleaned up, because Wisconsin has been badly defouled by these dishonest Reagan Youth sleazeballs throughout the 2010s. Let’s make it happen.