Ethics Commission Member Disputes Kinney's Positions

Mar 15, 2017

A member of the Wisconsin Ethics Commission takes exception with comments about the commission presented by a former member.

In an interview with WXPR, Judge Robert Kinney said he would be addressing at a League of Women Voters of the Northwoods meeting  what he felt was a reversal of Wisconsin's tradition of open and transparent government. Kinney resigned from the Commission late last year.

The legislature dissolved the former Government Accountability Board and made an Ethics Commission along with an Elections Commission. The Ethics Commission has three Democrats and three Republican members.

Attorney David R. Halbrooks of Milwaukee was appointed by Democrats and felt Kinney's remarks are off-base...

"....the Wisconsin Ethics Commission has operated outside of partisan lines. We have not had a single partisan vote since the Commission came into existence. It was Mr. Kinney who was actually the most partisan, and when he didn't get his way,  he up and quit..."

Halbrooks says he has a problem with the idea of open and transparent with regards to the Commission. He says the law is clear...

"....the Ethics Commission is not open and transparent, we meet in secret. We are required to conduct all of our investigations in secret. When I made a motion recently in an open meeting on Ethics that we should seek legislation to remove the confidentiality and secrecy from campaign finance regulation, Mr. Kinney's first words were, 'I have to disagree with you'...."

Halbrooks say Kinney never got a majority vote in his favor while on the Commission.