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Audit of state Government Accountability Board under consideration


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The agency that runs Wisconsin’s elections and investigates public corruption could soon be investigated itself.

The Republican co-chairs of the Legislature’s Audit Committee will hold a hearing next Wednesday to consider a formal audit of the Government Accountability Board.

Green Bay Senator Rob Cowles says the Board has not been audited since 2008, when it replaced the old Elections and Ethics panels. He says those two areas have been the subjects of concern, and an audit would uncover new information about the Board’s management and performance.

Accountability Board director Kevin Kennedy suggests that the proposed audit be expanded to study a possible need to replace older voting equipment.

The formation of the Board was the Legislature’s response to its own scandal in the last decade, in which several lawmakers and aides were convicted of illegal campaigning. Six retired judges run the board, with the idea of bringing neutrality to a pair of agencies that had political appointees in the past.

Senate Republican leader Scott Fitzgerald recently suggested that those partisan panels be brought back. But the idea has not gone anywhere, amid criticism from national academics who say the Accountability Board is a model for fairness.

Republicans disagree, saying the Board favored Democrats in the procedures over the recall elections of the past two years.

Board officials say Democrats have beefs, as well – and that proves that the agency runs itself right down the middle.