AP NEWS

The Latest: Elections panel retains embattled administrator

January 24, 2018

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on Wisconsin Elections Commission leadership questions (all times local):

4:10 p.m.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission has voted to retain interim Michael Hass as its interim administrator through April even though the state Senate has refused to confirm him.

The panel voted 4-2 on Wednesday to keep Haas in his position through April 30.

The vote came a day after the Senate voted 18-13 to reject his confirmation. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and other Senate Republicans said they couldn’t trust Haas because he previously worked for the now-disbanded Government Accountability Board, which investigated Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans.

Commission Chairman Mark Thomsen says Haas has done an impeccable job with the Elections Commission and deserves to keep his job.

Commissioner Dean Knudson, who voted against keeping Haas, warned that retaining him even though the Senate rejected him invites legal challenges. He says the commission needs an administrator who isn’t under a “cloud.”

___

1:45 p.m.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission is split over who should lead it.

The state Senate on Tuesday refused to confirm interim administrator Michael Haas because of his past work for the agency that investigated Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans.

Commission chairman Mark Thomsen says he will ask at the panel’s meeting Wednesday to keep Haas in the post as interim director.

But another commission member, Dean Knudson, says he will ask the commission to appoint deputy administrator Meagan Wolfe to the post. Knudson is a former Republican state lawmaker and Thomsen is a Democratic attorney.

Knudson says it serves no purpose to appoint Haas again. He says appointing someone else is the “common sense, reasonable, professional way to go.”

The Ethics Commission planned to meet Thursday to discuss who to name as its interim director after the Senate refused to confirm Brian Bell.

___

10:54 a.m.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission is going to consider re-appointing its leader to the leadership post a day after the state Senate refused to confirm him for the job.

Administrator Michael Haas has said he would be interested in continuing in the job, even though the Senate voted to oust him. Commission chairman Mark Thomsen said he hopes the board will re-appoint Haas at its Wednesday meeting.

The board is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. They have been unanimously supportive of Haas to this point.

But Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he hopes the commission doesn’t vote to re-appoint Haas.

Fitzgerald and Republicans voted to remove Haas and Ethics administrator Brian Bell because of their past work for the agency that investigated Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans.

AP RADIO
Update hourly