Walker withdraws elections board nomination
MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker wants to replace, without explanation, the former judge who led the nonpartisan elections board during Walker's recall in 2012, raising questions about his motives for the unusual move.
Walker's office on Monday provided The Associated Press with a copy of the governor's Oct. 24 letter withdrawing the nomination for Senate confirmation of Judge David Deininger. Walker spokesman Tom Evenson had no comment on why the governor made the move. A Senate committee was to hold a hearing on the nomination Tuesday.
"I feel like I've been fired and I don't know why," said Deininger, a former Republican lawmaker who was first appointed to the Government Accountability Board in 2008 by then-Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat.
The board was established to be a nonpartisan arbiter of the state's election and ethics laws, but some of its decisions have so angered Republicans they have called for it to be abolished and reconstituted.
The board was in charge of reviewing petitions and setting election dates for the 2011 and 2012 recall elections of Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and 13 state senators in the wake of the Legislature approving Walker's proposal that effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers. The board also handles ethics violations, campaign finance and lobbying reports and oversees elections across the state.
Deininger told AP that Walker's attorney told him withdrawing his nomination was part of a deal the governor reached with the Republican-led Senate. But Deininger said he wasn't given a reason as to why he was targeted.
Walker is asking the Senate to replace Deininger on the board with Harold Froehlich, an 81-year-old former Republican congressman who worked as an Outagamie County circuit judge for 30 years.