From today's Wisconsin State Journal:
The board, which polices Wisconsin political campaigns, is stacked with partisan members loyal to the governor, legislative leaders and party bosses who appoint them.
The board voted 5-2 against Green on Wednesday, likely costing his campaign hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations.
All of the Democrats on the board predictably voted against Green. Two of the Republicans, as expected, voted for Green, and one abstained.
It didn't have to be this way.
The GOP-run state Senate overwhelmingly approved SB 1 last year. Authored by Sen. Mike Ellis, R-Neenah, the bill would have created a Government Ac countability Board with members who could not be political hacks. Law school deans or judges -- rather than politicians -- would have nominate fair-minded people to the board.
Mark Green expressed support for Ellis' bill. So did incumbent Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle.
The only people who didn't want to improve the Elections Board were the ever-so-partisan leaders of the state Assembly -- Speaker John Gard, R-Peshtigo, who is now running for Congress, and his sidekick Mike Huebsch, R-West Salem.
Spouting lame excuses, these guys killed SB 1 despite broad, bipartisan support. And that left the Elections Board as partisan as ever.
The Elections Board on Wednesday ruled that Green, who is leaving Congress to run for governor, was wrong to transfer a bunch of campaign money from his congressional account to his state account.
There's some logic to the board's decision. Some donors who gave to Green's congressional campaign might not have been allowed to give to his state campaign.
Yet just four years ago, the Elections Board allowed Tom Barrett, then a Democratic congressman and candidate for governor, to transfer money just as Green has done.
Part of the controversy revolves around a rule change in 2005 and whether it was in effect.
Regardless, the Elections Board vote is suspect and certainly political. At the same time, the solution is simple -- adopt SB 1 so the public can be sure state election rules are administered fairly.
The lesson is one all politicians should have learned by now: Sometimes, when you do everything you can to preserve an advantage and screw over the other guy, you become the screwee, not the screwer.