Lawmakers Deliberate Over Findings Of GAB Audit

Director Says That Agency Has Been A Success

Government Accountability Board Director Kevin Kennedy testififying at a legislative hearing on Wednesday. Photo: Shamane Mills/WPR News.

On Wednesday, lawmakers weighed in on an audit which found fault with the Government Accountability Board, the agency that oversees elections in the state.

One Republican, Rep. Samantha Kerkman, said the audit could be a “roadmap” for changing who oversees future elections and ethics. But some Democrats questioned the findings because some documents weren’t provided to auditors following an opinion by the state attorney general.

“If this audit is incomplete, the conclusions that (the Legislative Audit Bureau) would have drawn could be extremely different from what (legislators) are responding to at this very moment,” said Democratic Rep. Janet Bewley.

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GAB Director Kevin Kennedy told legislators at the hearing that the Government Accountability Board is a success. He pointed out that the audit examined a timeframe when Wisconsin was having numerous recall elections, a state Supreme Court recount and redistricting.

“Many of the recommendations in the audit report were about things the board and staff were not able to get done,” said Kennedy. “Let me remind the committee that the four years covered in the audit report were the most politically tumultuous period in any state capitol in America.”

But Republican Sen. Robert Cowles said that if the board needed more people, board officials should have asked lawmakers.

“If you felt like you were understaffed you have to be more aggressive in letting people know about it,” he said.

The audit report recommended the board keep better voter registration records and improve enforcement of laws involving campaign finance, lobbying and ethics. GAB Director Kevin Kennedy told the Legislative Audit Committee that most of recommendations would be accomplished by April.