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Haas named Madison city attorney

Photo of Attorney Michael Haas

Attorney Michael Haas

Former Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator Michael Haas has been named as Madison’s new city attorney.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway announced his appointment on Monday. Haas worked for years as a private attorney and a municipal attorney for Stoughton, Edgerton and Milton. He later worked as a staff counsel and elections division administrator at the Government Accountability Board before becoming the interim administrator at the Wisconsin Elections Commission in 2016.

The Wisconsin Senate voted to remove Haas from the position in 2018, in what was viewed as a move by Republicans to seek revenge on anyone connected with an investigation into Gov. Scott Walker and other conservatives. Haas and Brian Bell, leader of the Ethics Commission, had been part of the Government Accountability Board that approved the John Doe probe into Walker’s 2012 recall campaign.

A news release from the city of Madison cited Haas’ experience on the two organizations and his handling of the legal and administrative issues related to the 2012 recall, the 2016 presidential and general election cycle, and the statewide recount of the 2016 presidential race. It said he’s also been advising clerks across the state as they responded to COVID-19’s impact on the polls.

Rhodes-Conway said Haas has the right combination of legal, administrative and supervisory experience to lead the city attorney’s office, calling him a “well-respected expert in elections, ethics and open government.”

Haas will start as the city attorney on May 18. He succeeds Michael May, who is retiring on June 1. May has served as Madison city attorney since 2004.

About Michaela Paukner, mpaukner@wislawjournal.com

Michaela Paukner is the legal reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal. She can be reached at (414) 225-1825 or by email at mpaukner@wislawjournal.com.

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