WMC Covers All the Bases

In this update: 1. New ethics cloud drifts over Ziegler 2. State audit critical of voter registration system 3. Governor, legislators get pay increase WMC Covers All the Bases

Email date: 11/28/07

In this update:
1. New ethics cloud drifts over Ziegler
2. State audit critical of voter registration system
3. Governor, legislators get pay increase

Annette Ziegler is back on the front page of the state’s largest newspaper today, this time thanks to her plan to hear and rule on a tax case involving a group that spent more than $2 million to get her elected.

Ziegler’s conflict of interest in the case is only a part of what’s wrong with this picture. The group in question, the big business lobby Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, has lent its legal beagles and considerable bank account to the effort of the corporation that sued the state over taxation of computer software. WMC also has put $2.5 million behind the head of the department that is defending the state in the lawsuit. And it has over $2 million invested in one of the judges. Our latest Big Money Blog fleshes out this sordid tale.

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A just-released state audit of the state Elections Board’s performance in administering elections in Wisconsin offers new insight into why today’s Elections Board meeting will be its last, and thankfully so.

In particular, the audit focuses on the disaster that is the state’s new computerized statewide voter registration system developed by the global outsourcing firm Accenture.

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Pay raises are on the way for elected state officials, and it didn’t req uire a vote of the full Legislature or the governor’s signature. Raises of 6.3% for legislators and 7.4% for the governor were approved unanimously by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Employment Relations, and that committee’s OK is all that’s required to hike salaries.

Judging from the latest polling by the St. Norbert College Survey Center, the public doesn’t think state politicians deserve a raise. The number of state residents who disapprove of the Legislature’s job performance increased by an eye-popping 18% just since the spring of this year.