This week, Wisconsin has had two more mishaps with your taxpayer dollars as the lack of transparency in state government is making our state a national laughing stock. As the Chairman of the Assembly State Affairs Committee, Fred Kessler is refusing to hold public hearings on Republican-backed transparency legislation in Wisconsin, two new scandals broke out in the news this week which trumps the need for greater transparency in Wisconsin.
First, an audit by the State Audit Bureau shown that Wisconsin employees are abusing their state-issued credit cards on the taxpayers dime. In the audit completed, $73,500 dollars of your taxpayer dollars were wasted on unauthorized charges that included a trip to Las Vegas, an HDTV, a hotel in Mexico, and laptop computers for personal use. If Wisconsin took the lead like Missouri, Illinois, and Minnesota on transparency then these state employees would of have thought twice before using that purchasing card to fund their personal interests.
Second, was information that revealed the Huron Consulting Group which is the lead consultant of a $81 million dollar payroll project for the UW System is under federal investigation with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm is under investigation over misstating their positions in financial statements the group is required to file with the SEC. This mishap along with a failed $28.6 million dollar computer project for the UW system are the two latest examples of what no transparency in state government can happen. With the UW System overseeing $45 million of that $81 million of the payroll project for consulting costs, the taxpayers demand to see where are the dollars going in this project. Also, Rep. Steve Nass the Ranking Republican of the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee called out on UW System President Kevin Reilly for withholding information to the Legislature on the project and asked the Board of Regents to delay the project.
Every citizen in Wisconsin deserves to see every dime of their money spent online in real time. As Democrats Peter Barca and Kathleen Vinehout of the Joint Audit Committee are planning to hold an public hearing on the purchasing cards, the North Shore Exponent urges Rep. Barca and Senator Vinehout to not drag their feet and use this investigation as a means to demand Rep. Kessler to hold a public hearing on the transparency legislation introduced by Rep. Bill Kramer. We have seen this year many examples that if Wisconsin already approved transparency legislation then we would not have the stench of corruption that exists in Madison today. The North Shore Exponent has in the past railed on Democrats for blocking meaningful transparency legislation and we will continue to hold their feet to the fire until a public hearing is held. As Wisconsin’s middle class is suffering from the Democrats irresponsible budgeting, it is time that the taxpayers see where their money is going. As Nebraska and Missouri will offer the transparency software to any state for free, what are Democrats afraid of?