Letter to Wisconsin Elections Commission

Supporting Commission Administrator Mike Haas

January 10, 2018

(Below is the text of a letter Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Executive Director Matthew Rothschild sent to the Wisconsin Elections Commission in support of Commission Administrator Mike Haas. A pdf copy of the letter is available.)

January 8, 2018

Dear Wisconsin Elections Commissioners,

And we echo your call for a public hearing to give Administrator Haas the opportunity to clear his name and to afford members of the public the opportunity to provide their own perspectives on his performance.The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign is writing to you today to defend Administrator Mike Haas and to applaud you for supporting him and to thank you for standing up to the disgraceful bullying by Sen. Fitzgerald.

In the meantime, here is ours: We at the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and other good-government groups have had numerous interactions with Administrator Haas and have always found him to be a model of professionalism.

We admire the way that Administrator Haas successfully administered the 2016 statewide presidential recount, implemented online voter registration, implemented the voter ID law, provided training for clerks across the state on changes in election law and implemented a new statewide voter database and election administration system.

And we are disgusted by the reprehensible attacks on Administrator Haas and Ethics Commission Administrator Brian Bell.

Not since the days of Tailgunner Joe McCarthy have elected officials in Wisconsin used their power to attempt to ruin the reputations and crush the careers of decent public servants.

As you know, Administrator Haas has done nothing wrong, and he wasn’t cited for discipline by the Schimel report into the John Doe II leak.

Nevertheless, because of Haas’s past work with the Government Accountability Board, Fitzgerald wants to hound him out of office. He wants to push through a vote on Jan. 23 to dismiss Haas without even holding a public hearing on the matter or allowing him to respond to the wild and scurrilous accusations hurled against him.

Let’s be clear: Fitzgerald is trying to make an example of Haas and Bell. He wants their heads on a spike. He wants everyone to know that if you are even connected with anyone who crosses him or his buddies, you’re going to suffer.

This is the mindset of a playground bully and a wannabe mobster.

It is beneath the dignity of our elected officials and is toxic to democracy.

As your chair, Mark Thomsen, so aptly put it: “It is simply wrong and morally repugnant for elected officials to attack the motives and reputations of hard-working public servants. The character assassinations and slander must stop.”

Has Fitzgerald no sense of decency?

This is one of those pivotal moments in Wisconsin history where anti-democratic forces, with no respect for fair play, are attempting to take our state in a truly ugly direction.

It needs to be recorded that at such a moment, you stood tall.


Matt Rothschild
Executive Director