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Wisconsin Elections Commission moves to retain leader after state Senate vote to oust him: report

Wisconsin Elections Commission moves to retain leader after state Senate vote to oust him: report
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Wisconsin's Elections Commission will retain its administrator after Republicans in the state Senate voted down his confirmation a day earlier.

The Elections Commission voted 4-2 on Wednesday to keep Michael Haas as its interim administrator through April 30, The Associated Press reported.

The vote was a rebuke to state Senate Republicans, who refused on Tuesday to confirm both Haas and Brian Bell, the state Ethics Commission administrator. 

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Republicans argued that neither Haas nor Bell could be trusted to serve in their roles on the commissions, because they previously worked for the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, a now-defunct panel that investigated whether Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans violated campaign laws.

After Haas's confirmation was denied on Tuesday, the Wisconsin Department of Administration told Haas that he could remain at the Elections Commission as a staff attorney — a role that would come with a $30,000 pay cut, the AP reported.

The vote against Haas's and Bell's confirmations tees up a legal fight regarding whether the state Senate has the authority to oust the administrators, or if that authority falls to the Elections and Ethics commissions.

The Ethics Commission is set to meet on Thursday about bringing on an interim administrator. David Halbrook, the chairman of the commission, did not say whether the agency would consider retaining Bell as its interim administrator, according to the AP.