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Ethics Commission will be able to make political donations (UPDATE)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Members of Wisconsin’s newly created commission charged with overseeing the state’s ethics, lobbying and campaign-finance laws will be able to make political donations.

The commission voted 4-2 on Tuesday to continue with the current practice allowing them to give to political candidates and campaign committees.

Two members, Democrat Robert Kinney and Republican Pat Strachota, argued that giving to partisan candidates will hurt the public’s perception of their work.

But Democrats Peg Lautenschlager and David Halbrooks argued that their decisions would not be affected by money they give to candidates.

Nothing in state law bars Ethics Commission members from donating to the very politicians they are regulating.

Commission members are partisan appointees, unlike their predecessors on the Government Accountability Board who were judges and prohibited under the law from donating.

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