The Double Standard of Duey Stroebel
He attacks Evers appointee while ignoring “Ethical Baggage” of 13 Walker appointees.
Was Scott Walker’s administration weighted down with “ethical baggage”?
Applying the apparent standard of state Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Sauville), the answer is “yes.” At least 13 times.
Senator Stroebel believes that Craig Thompson, Gov. Tony Evers’ nominee for Secretary of Transportation, is “burdened with ethical baggage” for having lobbied for an organization involved in the transportation industry. The senator called it unwise to name someone “paid…to lobby” for transportation firms as head of the Department of Transportation. In Senator Stroebel’s view, Governor Evers has “taint[ed] the debate over transportation and public infrastructure by injecting [an] ethically charged political appointment into the discussion.”
At least 13 high level Walker appointees previously were registered as lobbyists — “paid to lobby” — with the state’s Ethics Commission (see table below). When considering the Stroebel Standard, consider this partial list of names:
Daniel Schwartzer represented the Wisconsin Association of Health Underwriters before serving as Deputy Insurance Commissioner. (His boss, Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel, previously was director of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs for Church Mutual Insurance.)
Ellen Nowak and Scott Neitzel represented, respectively, voucher schools and a major private utility before heading the powerful Department of Administration. DOA has direct and indirect oversight over almost every nook and cranny of state government. It prepares the governor’s proposed budget.
Thomas Engels represented the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin before serving as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health.
And on it goes.
State law specifies a wide range of regulations involving registered lobbyists. I am aware of no evidence that Craig Thompson, Evers’ WIDOT nominee, ever violated the lobbying law
State law includes a code of ethical conduct for public officials. As Thompson has been secretary-designate for less than a month, there obviously is no known evidence of him having violated this ethical code.
So, what, exactly, does it mean to be “ethically charged” or to carry “ethical baggage”? Call me old-fashioned, but accusing someone of being unethical is serious. Especially so when the accuser is a duly elected state senator empowered with a vote to confirm a cabinet secretary.
If Senator Stroebel has evidence of unethical conduct on Thompson’s part he should take it to the State Ethics Commission. If not, he should do the honorable thing and withdraw the accusation.
As for the lobbyists who held high posts in the Walker Administration, did they take office with “ethical baggage”? Were their appointments “tainted”? I know of nothing that remotely would justify such claims. I’m unaware of Senator Stroebel having applied to them the ambiguous and defamatory test he now applies to Thompson.
Rather than disagree with views Thompson has long advocated as a respected lobbyist, Senator Stroebel instead criticizes Thompson’s legal advocacy for his views. In so doing, it is Senator Stroebel — not Evers or Thompson — who “taints” the debate.
|Chandler, Richard||Secretary||Revenue, Department of|
|Engels, Thomas||Deputy Secretary||Health Services, Department of|
|Johns, Jason||Deputy Secretary||Veterans Affairs, Wisconsin Department of|
|Lyon, Jeff||Deputy Secretary||Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection|
|Moroney, Matt||Deputy Secretary||Natural Resources, Department of|
|Neitzel, Scott||Secretary||Administration, Department of|
|Public Service Commission; Department of Administraton|
|Risch, Jay||Secretary||Financial Institutions, Department of|
|Riske, Laura||Assistant Deputy Secretary||Health Services, Department of|
|Schimming, Brian||WHEDA COO||Housing & Economic Development Authority, Wisconsin (WHEDA)|
|Schwartzer, Dan||Deputy Commissioner||Insurance, Office of Commissioner of|
|Seitz, Bob||Deputy Secretary||Transportation, Department of|
|Wendle, William||Deputy Secretary||Safety and Professional Services, Department of|