MADISON, Wis. – Staff at Wisconsin’s nearly extinct speech regulator misled their board about the agency’s deep involvement in a politically driven John Doe investigation months before the board authorized the probe, according to a new filingby plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Government Accountability Board.
More so, the latest court documents show GAB director and general counsel Kevin Kennedy approaching Lois Lerner, the former Internal Revenue Service agent also accused of targeting conservative groups.
Kennedy asked Lerner, then-director of the IRS Exempt Organizations division about the initial findings of the a secret investigation into 29 conservative groups and the campaign of Gov. Scott Walker. Kennedy, who has refused to tell the Legislature about his communications with the IRS, asked his close professional friend Lerner whether the information would be “something the IRS would be interested in looking at.”
So what is more of a threat to our liberty… a politician legally coordinating with a like-minded organization or two government bureaucrats colluding on a secret and illegal investigation into the lives of citizens of one particular ideology?
Someone should start looking into criminal charges for Kennedy.
What always strikes me about reading Kennedy’s comments is the dripping condescension and arrogance. And it isn’t just story… it’s the same in almost every story. Kennedy is clearly incensed that these elected officials – those who represent the citizens and are his bosses – have the temerity to question his actions. What a tool. He needs to go.
Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, questioned Kennedy about his relationship with former IRS Director Lois Lerner, who was at the center of a controversy over the federal agency allegedly targeting conservative groups.
“Seriously? Have you no decency? That is right out of the McCarthy era,” Kennedy said to Kapenga.
The two continued to talk over each other with Kennedy at one point asking, “Are you going to let me answer the question?”
Kennedy suggested he had already answered questions about his relationship with Lerner through past media accounts. He again described it as a friendship that had developed out of a professional relationship that dates back years.
“I don’t always believe what the press prints,” Kapenga said.
Kennedy also had a tense exchange with Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-West Allis, who ticked off a list of shortcomings he said were identified in a Legislative Audit Bureau review of the agency.
Well, he’s not trying to admit bias, but he does.
Kennedy, the accountability board’s director, said he appreciated that Falk was blunt but added he had talked to him about his tone when he worked for the agency. Falk last year left the accountability board, which runs elections and oversees campaign finance, lobbying and ethics laws.
“I’ve had numerous conversations when he was employed with me about toning it down,” Kennedy said. “And it’s ironic — Shane was also one of the ones who would say, ‘Be careful what you say.’ And he would give me the same cautions, and other staff. ‘Don’t put that view down,’ and yet he was victim to that. I’m not going to throw Shane under the bus, other than to say I dealt with those issues as they came up from a personnel standpoint, as to whether that was the best way to handle things.”
Falk’s emails do not show the accountability board is biased, Kennedy said. Falk didn’t decide what to investigate; the six former judges on the board did, Kennedy said.
If the GAB director and staff were not biased and behaving as such, why would they need to warn each other to “be careful what you say?” And from Kennedy’s comments, it sounds like it was a relatively common occurrence for staffers to warn each other to not “put that view down.” What views were they putting down? Conservative views. Why? Because they are liberal activists.
Let us be done with the GAB and find a better way to accomplish their statutory mandates.