Senate votes to reject Ethics, Elections leaders

The Wisconsin Senate has rejected confirmation of the leaders of the Elections and Ethics commission, despite unanimous bipartisan support from the boards that hired them.

The Senate voted 18-13 Tuesday against confirming Elections administrator Michael Haas and Ethics administrator Brian Bell. All Republicans voted to reject confirmation while all 13 Democrats opposed it.Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he's lost confidence in both men's ability to be nonpartisan. They've held the posts since mid-2016. Both previously worked for the Government Accountability Board, which Republicans disbanded in 2015 after it investigated Gov. Scott Walker and other conservative groups.

Government watchdog groups have threatened to sue to keep Bell and Haas in their jobs.The bipartisan Elections and Ethics commissions unanimously supported keeping Haas and Bell as their leaders.

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The Wisconsin Senate has voted to reject confirmation of Ethics Commission administrator Brian Bell, a move designed to force him out of his job.

The Senate voted 19-12 Tuesday against confirming Bell, with all Republicans and one Democrat voting to reject.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he did not have confidence in Bell's ability to be nonpartisan in the post he's held since mid-2016. An investigation ordered by the Ethics Commission determined there was ``not a scintilla of evidence'' that Bell was partisan.Bell has said the vote means he's fired. But government watchdog groups have suggested they may challenge the move in court.

The Senate was also expected to reject confirmation of Elections Commission head Michael Haas.

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