MADISON-Following is the statement of Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate following news that Republican lawmakers are scrambling to forestall the recall of Scott Walker by ceding to him unprecedented power in interpreting voter access rules.

"Absolute power corrupts absolutely and here we see it in Wisconsin, where government is being run as an auxiliary branch of the Republican Party.

Wisconsin used to lead the way in open democracy, ballot access, voter access. Now, as the people of Wisconsin are rising up against Scott Walker and the Republican War on the Middle Class, Republicans are engineering ways to lock in all power and shut down democracy.

Not content to pass the most restrictive voter suppression legislation in Wisconsin history, aided by a narrative provided by the state's most partisan attorney general in history, Scott Walker's lapdog Republicans are now going after interpretations of elections law that they fear will undermine their ultimate goal-to suppress the ability for ELIGIBLE voters to be heard.

To cede MORE power to Scott Walker so that voting and his recall is suppressed shows how warped the values of the Republican party have become. And if the goal is to forestall the recall of Scott Walker, his rubberstamp Republicans have merely made the case more urgent."

Background

Scott Walker Creates Political Appointments, Results in Raises and Promotions for Cronies. Written into his divisive union-busting legislation was the authority for Scott Walker himself to convert existing civil-service positions into political appointments. This power grab was ostensibly designed to make it easier for the governor to implement his policies unopposed, rather than have to run them through employees who are committed to protecting the public interest - not advancing Walker’s political agenda. Walker is not the only one who benefits from this cronyism – his political appointees are earning more than their predecessors. Longtime Walker aide Cindy Archer, who is at the center of the widening Walker corruption probe, is profiting from her controversial political appointment with a 65% pay increase over the person who previously held the position, as reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. [2011 Wisconsin Act 10Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/17/11]

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald Rejects Two Democratic Appointees to Bipartisan Mining Committee. Walker acolyte Scott Fitzgerald breaks with Senate tradition to reject two committee recommendations from Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/27/11]

Scott Walker Calls Special Session of Legislature to Focus On Jobs, Grants Himself Rule-Making Authority. One of the first acts of Scott Walker’s Republican Party in its special session, billed as “all about jobs,” was to grant Scott Walker the power to approve or veto all administrative rules. [2011 Wisconsin Act 21]

Grants Unilateral Authority to Un-Elected Bureaucrats for Changes to Vital Health Care Programs. Through his so-called “budget repair bill” Scott Walker grants authority to his extremist right-wing health care czar Dennis Smith to make sweeping changes to vital public health care programs relied on by thousands of working Wisconsin families. Smith is a long-time advocate of states opting out of Medicaid. [2011 Wisconsin Act 10]

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald Denies Committee Representation to Senate Democrats. Reported Dane101, in a letter to his caucus, Fitzgerald stated that, “when taking roll call votes on amendments and bills during executive sessions, Senate Democrats’ votes will not be reflected in the Records of Committee Proceedings or the Senate Journal. They are free to attend hearings, listen to testimony, debate legislation, introduce amendments, and cast votes to signal their support/opposition, but those votes will not count, and will not be recorded.” [Dane101, 3/14/11]

Scott Walker Proposes No-Bid Sales of State-Owned Power Plants. Walker has favored no-bid contracts since his days as Milwaukee County Executive, often to the benefit of his campaign donors. One of his first acts as governor was to propose the no-bid sale of state-owned power plants in the so-called “budget repair bill.” The controversial proposal was removed from the budget repair bill, but the Wisconsin State Journal reports that “the administration remains committed to the idea of selling the plants.”  [Wisconsin State Journal, 3/19/11]