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Former GAB Members Defend Now-Dissolved Elections Panel

11 Former Judges Who Served On The GAB Say They Welcome 'Fair And Honest Review' Of Their Work

Wisconsin State Capitol
Richard Hurd (CC BY)

Eleven retired judges who sat on the now-defunct Government Accountability Board defended their former agency against Republican attacks Friday, saying they were proud of the work they did and the people who worked for them.

They also defended the agency’s role in a highly publicized John Doe investigation of Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans, saying the probe was based on settled law.

Republicans voted to end the GAB in 2015, in part because of its role in the Walker investigation.

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In December, Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel released a report highly critical of the agency, suggesting the Walker John Doe was the product of its liberal bias.

State Senate Republicans cited Schimel’s report as one of the reasons they voted to fire the administrators of the Ethics and Elections commissions, both of whom worked at the GAB.

Republicans have also authorized Schimel to dig deeper through an expanded investigation.

Former GAB member David Deininger said in an interview that he was concerned Schimel’s new investigation would follow the same path as his first.

“I thought it was very one-sided and had an axe to grind and was not really an open inquiry for the truth but rather a search for scapegoats,” Deininger said.

Deininger said Republicans who were critical of the board had already accomplished their goal when they eliminated it in 2015.

“Pursuing the individuals that happened to work for us and are now working for the successor commissions seems to us to be overkill,” Deininger said.

Editor’s Note: This story was last updated at 5:31 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, with original WPR reporting.

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