Tuesday, January 3, 2017

GOP Congress followed pro-corruption, no-oversight Wisconsin model

Many WisGOPs like to brag and claim our previously-progressive state is an example of what Republicans do if they are given all levers in power. Well, we definitely saw the GOPs in Congress try to govern in "The (2010s) Wisconsin Way" today ...and epically fail in the process.
House Republicans reversed plans to gut a congressional ethics watchdog on Tuesday after a backlash that included criticism from President-elect Donald Trump over the timing of the move.

Late Monday night House GOP members voted to dramatically restructure the Office of Congressional Ethics, putting the independent office under the jurisdiction of a congressional committee....

The OCE is currently a nonpartisan office led by lawyers, former members of Congress and others tasked with investigating alleged wrongdoing by members of Congress. The group may publicly release its findings and call for the House Committee on Ethics to take action.

The amendment passed by House Republicans would have limited the OCE's ability to act autonomously and make its investigations public.
And by the way, anyone who credits Drumpf for making the GOP back off is full of crap. Trump merely said that Congress should concentrate more on exploding the deficit with giveaways to the rich care more about tax policy and messing up Obamacare. I have zero doubt crooked-ass Trump would be cool with removal of as much oversight as possible.

But where I've seen ideas like removing independent arbiters of ethics before? Oh yeah, the Wisconsin Legislature in the last session.
The bill to repeal the GAB would replace the retired judges with partisan appointees, create separate entities for ethics and elections, and give the legislature the authority to cut off investigative funding if it sees fit.

Republican Assembly Member Joe Sanfelippo penned an op-ed last month saying that the GAB should operate more like the FEC. “If it works for the Federal Election Commission, there’s no reason it won’t for Wisconsin as well,” he wrote. The problem is that it doesn’t work for the FEC. The commission’s chairperson has said that due to crippling partisan gridlock (by law, it has three Democratic and three Republican commissioners), the FEC can’t enforce federal campaign-finance laws. As the Campaign Legal Center’s Larry Noble told the Wisconsin State Journal, "It's like setting up a disaster-relief agency and saying you're going to use the FEMA handling of Hurricane Katrina as your model."
And the DC GOPs trying to gut the OCE in the middle of the night and seeing public anger cause it to backfire is reminiscent of a similar late-night scummy GOP move to limit accountability in 2015.
A vote by Wisconsin's budget committee to dismantle the state's open records laws has caused an uproar across the Badger State.

Under these measures, lawmakers would be able to draft bills in secret and hide their communications from the public. The changes would also apply to local government officials, including school board members.

No other state in the country would have similar statutes, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau, a nonpartisan agency that helps legislators draft laws.

The Joint Finance Committee passed it 12-4 on a party line vote. Republicans refused to say who initiated the measures and the reasoning for it.
And just like how you know that the Wisconsin GOP will try to fuck with open records laws at some point in this session, GOPs in DC will try to immunize themselves and Trump from being held to standards on conflicts-of-interest, if the voters let them stay in power.

All today's GOP understands is power and money, and the only way they stop in that march toward grabbing more power and more money is if either are threatened. And the only way that is threatened is if other people rise up and make them realize they will face consequences- particularly at the ballot box, or in the courtroom. As I said 2 days ago- the real 2017 New Year's Resolution has to be in holding these thugs accountable. It's the only way this downward spiral will end.

1 comment:

  1. The only way the GOP can get away with the the things they do is by hiding their agenda from public scrutiny, and trying late-night end-around maneuvers to game things to their advantage. Scott Walker is the poster boy for this method of operation, as was Mike Pence in Indiana.

    You're absolutely right about accountability, as it is a key element among the checks and balances in our system that still exist to protect the minority from dominance by the majority (especially when most elections are only decided by a few percentage points). If Republicans try get another horrible bill rammed through, we'll need full, open examination of it and plenty of public input--that's what will gum up and slow their process down. The more
    exposure to GOP schemes, the less chance of their success.

    The key to Democratic Party survival and future success will be the in taking a reasoned, honest approach to the problems we face. We cannot fall into a siege-mentality malaise. We must once again be a people-centered Party, rather than being money-centered. We're the people that do the work so that businesses profit, and we expect to be compensated in a dignifyed way.

    Keep up the fight, Jake, as I'll being making more effort in the future.