This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

I do not hate to say we told you so

Today, the Wisconsin Reporter reports:

“While voters on both sides of the aisle may debate the fairness of Wisconsin’s system of recall and the current taste for removing government officials, they had, up until Monday evening, been able to count on an open showing of that system — at least when it came to recall petitions.

The Government Accountability Board, the state election board better known as GAB, decided it would postpone posting the reported 1 million signatures in the recall against Gov. Scott Walker after hearing concerns that making the names public could compromise victims of domestic abuse and stalking, and others.

Earlier Monday, GAB spokesman Reid Magney assured Wisconsin Reporter the signatures would be posted on the board's website by the end of the day, just as the accountability office promised on Friday when it released a scanned copy of the petitions to Walker’s campaign.

The sudden change of heart comes after the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin in December asked the board to hide the names of domestic abuse victims who request their names be kept out of the public eye.”


Last November, Media Trackers first raised the issue of privacy.

About two weeks later, the Journal Sentinel’s very own PolitiFact Wisconsin scoffed at the warning issued by Media Trackers:

"Our conclusion

Media Trackers said recall petition signers are vulnerable to crime or harassment because of two newly discovered provisions in Wisconsin’s recall process.

Neither provision is new, so it’s misleading to call them newly discovered. As for the risk to petition signers, Media Trackers provided no evidence that they have been victims of crime, although some have received phone calls from out-of-state telemarketers in the past.

We rate Media Trackers’ statement Mostly False."

While one can sympathize with stalking victims, we’re talking about public records. Recall petitions and other petitions to get people on a ballot have always been public records. Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "You can't sign a petition to recall an elected public official in secret.”


Meanwhile, state Senator Mary Lazich released this statement today about the fumblin’, bumblin’, stumblin’ GAB.

And the MacIver Institute reports:

"In late December, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) received a memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Council, which explained the GAB was proactively choosing not to create a database and was not prohibited from doing so.

'The statutes do not impose explicit barriers to the creation of a GAB database that contains the names and addresses of individuals who sign recall petitions or to public availability of the database,' said Katie Bender-Olson, Staff Attorney with the Wisconsin Legislative Council in a
memo to the Speaker.  'To the contrary, the statute enumerating the powers and duties of GAB may support the agency’s authority to create a recall signature database and make it accessible to the public'.”

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