The Senate voted not to confirm the leaders of the elections and elections commissions — Mike Haas and Brian Bell. But it’s not entirely clear if that means the two men are out of a job.
The DOJ report recommended disciplinary action for some of the Government Accountability Board workers, who they consider responsible for the leak of government documents to the press. This stems from the now-closed John Doe investigation into the Governor’s campaign financing. Although Haas and Bell worked at the agency at the time, neither of their names were recommended for disciplinary action.
But Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says Haas and Bell’s association with the now-defunct GAB makes them untrustworthy.
Democrats, though, are up in arms — saying Republicans are performing a character assassination of innocent officials with no basis. The vote not to confirm Haas and Bell fell almost exactly across party lines.
Democratic Senator Jon Erpenbach says Republican leadership isn’t being upfront with their reasons for not confirming Haas and Bell.
Although today’s decision sounds like the end for Haas, his fate isn’t sealed quite yet. The elections commission is meeting tomorrow to appoint an interim director. Spokesperson Reid Magney wouldn’t speculate about who they’d vote for but said it was legal and possible for them to appoint Haas.
The commission unanimously backed Haas and had urged Republicans to confirm him. If appointed tomorrow, Haas could continue as interim director for the foreseeable future. State statute does not specify a time frame for an interim administrator.
Same for the ethics commission. They also unanimously backed their administrator before today’s vote.