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Gregg Finds Red Flags During Marklein's First Term


September 6, 2018

Dear Fellow Citizens of Wisconsin’s 17th Senatorial District,

For the past four years, we have been represented in the state senate by Howard Marklein of Spring Green. As Senator Marklein’s first term in that office is about to come to a close, I believe it would be appropriate to review his record during that time to see if he is fit for re-election. Are there any ‘red flags’ that we should be made aware of before casting our vote in November? After thoroughly reviewing his legislative record over that time, I can assure you that there are several, but his inclination to bypass established and ethical governmental procedures is by far the most concerning:

‘Motion 999’ (approved during the July 4th weekend, 2015) – Along with eleven of his colleagues on the joint finance committee, Marklein attempted to pass sweeping changes to Wisconsin’s Open Records Law by secretly inserting a last second amendment to the state’s 2015-17 budget. The changes would have allowed for government officials to legally hide certain legislative endeavors from the public, but the effort was widely repudiated and hastily removed when it was exposed by other legislators and the press. A few days after the incident was reported, Marklein issued an addendum, removing the proposed changes which he had originally approved. None of the 12 Republicans who sought to push the provisions through without disclosing them ever publicly claimed responsibility for writing them, nor did they reveal who did.

SB-43 (voted yea on October 23, 2015) – Prohibited the use of the “John Doe” Law in court. Passed shortly after the conclusion of the second “John Doe” investigation of Governor Scott Walker.

SB-15 (co-sponsored and voted yea on May 2, 2017) – Expanded legislature’s regulatory review powers.

To be sure, he has been witness to some of the most nefarious attempts of the Walker administration to circumvent the legislative process and to elude public scrutiny. He was complicit in at least one of these instances in an effort to obscure such unethical endeavors from public view. That is not a partisan issue, it is an affront to democracy in our state. The motion ‘999’ affair alone should be worn like a scarlet letter by each of the legislators involved. Although they were all members of the Republican party, their attempt to conceal any part of the lawmaking process from the citizens of Wisconsin is a transgression committed against people of all political persuasions and democracy itself. It was a breach of trust which should preclude Senator Marklein’s re-election.

In summary, I believe it is safe to say that Senator Howard Marklein possesses neither the integrity nor the political will to adequately fill the seat of his predecessor, Dale Schultz (a Republican who was respected for his independence and decency). I will be voting for Kriss Marion in November. Recent attempts by the Marklein campaign to challenge her principles are the most absurd kind of hypocrisy, given his track record. Please stand down, Mr. Marklein. You absolutely do not have the moral high ground.


Matthew Gregg

Dodgeville, Wisconsin


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