Avatar
All Posts by Empower Wisconsin

Tourism’s botched election redux

Empower Wisconsin | Dec. 9  2019

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers’ Tourism Secretary-designee Sara Meaney was forced to call a special meeting Wednesday after botching the election for council officers in late October. 

The election, marred by multiple irregularities, violated the state’s open meetings law when it effectively met without a quorum. Members on three separate occasions were asked to vote remotely via their personal electronic devices.

Flanked by two Department of Administration lawyers, Meaney read from prepared notes while leading the meeting.

Meaney and the attorneys opted to move full speed ahead in holding the leadership election even though state law requires the council to vote again for executive officers at its first meeting of the new year — in March.  The council unanimously elected Joe Klimczak chairman, despite the fact that he may be stepping down from the council next year.

When Sen. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere), a legislative member of the council, questioned the logic of holding two officer elections within three months, tourism officials said they wanted continuity of leadership as soon as possible.

The DOA attorneys acknowledge the senator was “probably” right in his understanding of the tourism statute. Jacque said he sought answers from the Wisconsin Legislative Council after tourism officials failed to answer his questions.

“As a result of the information I’ve been able to glean from other legal opinions, there appears to be this desire to act first and figure things out later,” Jacque told Empower Wisconsin in an interview.

Ultimately it seems Meaney and her attorneys just wanted to make their election mess go away.

Records obtained by Empower Wisconsin show the council held subsequent online elections for officers after the first online vote ended in a 6-6 tie between council members Kathy Kopp and Joe Klimczak.

State law prohibits online elections for officers of state boards and commissions.

In some cases, there were improper votes cast or some council members were said to have voted multiple times.

Tourism officials ultimately declared the votes “inconclusive,” but between the first and final round of voting, Meaney asked Kopp to resign her position on the council as early as this month, according to Kopp and other tourism sources. Kopp, a widely respected tourism leader appointed by governors from both parties, plans to retire next year as director of the Platteville Area Chamber of Commerce, but her Tourism Council appointment doesn’t end until July 2021.

Kopp told Meaney on multiple occasions she had no intention of stepping down from the council, but Kopp showed remarkable grace Wednesday when she nominated Klimczak for chairman.

Evers upon taking office “vowed he would reach across the aisle to work with Republicans,” saying that bipartisanship is “part of my DNA,”  but the administration’s actions tell another story. 

In March, Evers ordered the illegal firing of 82 GOP appointees whose terms had not expired out of political spite after Republicans enacted laws reining in some executive branch power. 

Listen to more:

Explore More
Wisconsin Spotlight Election scandal: Roots in Racine

Wisconsin Spotlight Election scandal: Roots in Racine

By M.D. Kittle MADISON — Kenneth Brown says Wisconsin voters should expect fair and honest elections. Billionaire-funded, third-party groups involved…

Read More »

April 22, 2021
Lebron James deletes incendiary tweet

Lebron James deletes incendiary tweet

By Caroline Downey, National Review MADISON — LeBron James has deleted a tweet that called for the prosecution of Columbus,…

Read More »

April 22, 2021
Two-faced Tony’s taxing problem

Two-faced Tony’s taxing problem

By M.D. Kittle MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers’ budget plan may technically include a very slight property tax cut, but…

Read More »

April 22, 2021
Mutiny in the ‘bounty’

Mutiny in the ‘bounty’

Another story aimed at damaging Donald Trump has been found to be a big lie — months after a dishonest…

Read More »

April 21, 2021
Riot inciter Maxine Waters demands police escort

Riot inciter Maxine Waters demands police escort

By Katie Pavlich, Townhall New documents obtained by Townhall show Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters requested an armed police escort to…

Read More »

April 21, 2021
Wisconsin Spotlight: Election scandal recusal

Wisconsin Spotlight: Election scandal recusal

MADISON — Wisconsin Elections Commission staff will not be involved in reviewing a complaint alleging Green Bay city officials allowed…

Read More »

April 20, 2021
Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *