New Ethics Commission conducts just 1 investigation

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MADISON — A new report shows that Wisconsin’s official government Ethics Commission investigated just one alleged violation in its first year of operation.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that that’s a far less active pace than its predecessor, the Government Accountability Board.

The commission’s administrator, Brian Bell, says the panel fielded 39 complaints of alleged legal violations from July 2016 through June 2017. One led to an investigation into alleged use of public resources for private benefit. Bell says further details of the investigation can’t be released because it’s ongoing.

GOP lawmakers and Gov. Scott Walker created the Ethics Commission, saying the previous Government Accountability Board was too partisan. Democrats and government transparency groups predicted the new commission would be a far less aggressive watchdog for Wisconsin’s ethics and campaign finance laws.

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