Milwaukee County Board First Vice Chair Marcelia Nicholson appeared to violate state and county ethics rules by soliciting donations for the Working Families Party during an address to the Board Thursday.
"I will be turning 30 again on the 29th," she said during the Announcements portion of the meeting. "Presents are not necessary but I won't turn them away. However I would like, in lieu of presents, if anyone so pleases if you could donate to two of my favorite organizations: One of them being the Working Families Party or two being Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, BLOC. Please support these organizations. They're doing incredible work in the community giving civic engagement and education. Thank you so much."
Nicholson is Co-Chair of the Wisconsin Working Families Party and ran as a Working Families Party candidate when she won a seat on the County Board in 2016.
Wisconsin Statute §11.1207 prohibits public officials from soliciting "any contribution contribution during established hours of employment or while the officer or employee is engaged in his or her official duties." In addition, the Milwaukee County Code of Ethics §9.05 provides that "no county public official or employee shall use his/her public position or office to obtain financial gain or anything of substantial value for the private benefit of himself/herself or his/her immediate family, or for an organization with which he/she is associated."
Since Nicholson was acting in her official capacity as a member of the Milwaukee County Board during a County Board meeting when she openly solicited contributions to her political party and a favored organization, she appears to have violated both the county's ethics code and state law.
Nicholson has not yet responded to requests for comment.
Since joining the Board in 2017, Nicholson has risen rapidly to First Vice Chair, which is the second-ranking position on the Board to Chairman Theodore Lipscomb. She is also no stranger to controversy. Last August, she was convicted of driving with a prohibited blood alcohol level after a one-car crash on I-43. She had a blood alcohol level of 0.18--more than twice the legal limit. As part of a plea deal, two other charges--operating while intoxicated and failure to keep a vehicle under control--were dismissed. Her driver's license was revoked for six months and an ignition interlock device was placed in her car for a year.