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Robin Vos makes appointments to new ethics, elections commissions

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Robin Vos elections & ethics panels

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has named a former Republican state lawmaker and a Republican National Committeeman to new state commissions overseeing ethics and elections.

Former Rep. Pat Strachota, R-West Bend, was Vos’ pick for the ethics panel and RNC member Steve King of Janesville his choice for the elections panel.

On June 30, the new partisan panels will replace the outgoing Government Accountability Board, whose members are nonpartisan. The transition was triggered by a law passed by GOP lawmakers and signed by Gov. Scott Walker in December.

Strachota was a state representative from 2005-2015 and was Wisconsin’s first female Assembly Majority Leader.

King is founder and partner of King Capital LLC. He has a long history in Wisconsin politics, contributing to various GOP candidates, serving as chairman of the state Republican Party and running a conservative issue advocacy group, Coalition for America’s Families.

Democrats and liberals criticized the appointment of King, citing his role as an FBI agent and security guard for former U.S. Attorney General and convicted Watergate conspirator John Mitchell.

A biography of John Mitchell’s wife, Martha Mitchell, claimed King assaulted her in an effort to stop her from calling a reporter with information about Watergate. She made similar accusations about King in interviews at the time, according to a 2006 Wisconsin State Journal report.

King denied subduing Martha Mitchell but has said he won’t reveal “deeply personal” details of his interactions with the Mitchell family.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin appeared to reference those allegations in a Friday tweet criticizing the Vos appointment.

The new law calls for the Republican and Democratic leaders in the Assembly and Senate to each name a member of the new commissions. The governor names two more members to both commissions, subject to Senate confirmation. A third party also would get a representative on the panels if its gubernatorial candidate got 10 percent or more of the vote in the previous election.

The picks by Vos, R-Rochester, are the second appointees to be named to each of the commissions.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, announced his choice last month for the ethics panel: Katie McCallum, secretary of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, named Milwaukee attorney Ann S. Jacobs, an election law expert and longtime Democratic campaign contributor, to the elections panel.

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