So far, no one's coming out of this story looking particularly good.
Serious questions have been raised about goings on in the state treasurer's office since at least last year, when the Wisconsin State Journal reported on possible politically motivating hiring going on there. Positions in the office are supposed to be nonpartisan, civil service, merit-based jobs.
More recently, many have been calling into question State Treasurer Dawn Marie Sass's ability to properly run the office. The allegations involve improper staffing levels, grossly mismanaging unclaimed property requests, hiring her 20-year-old niece, and not bothering to detail travel expenses on her ethics reports.
Today, the WSJ again lays out yet more drama at the office, wherein Sass has fired her deputy because, as she now says, he did in fact politicize the hiring process at the office. This reverses the claims she'd made initially when the issue was raised. So why the change of heart? Why the sudden willingness to stand up for what's right and good and non-partisan in this world?
Well, something tells me the motives aren't entirely altruistic. I mean, Sass has been under serious pressure to whip her department into shape lest she be removed from office. Major problems have been outlined with how she's handled her job. Suddenly deciding to grow a conscience and throw a few people under the bus to save one's own skin isn't exactly a new phenomenon.
Why else would she wait until everyone who she claims was hired for political reasons had already left those jobs? And why defend the hires so rigorously in the first place, only to wait a year (until you yourself had come under fire) to speak up?
The whole thing smacks of self-serving politics, and not just on the part of Sass. After all, there's a good chance her claims of politicization and meddling on the part of governor's office have merit despite her potentially less-than-noble reasons for spilling the beans.
What it all comes down to is that we clearly need a serious investigation into Sass, her office, and the Doyle administration. If anyone has been trying to influence hires and/or hiring based on political affiliations, then they need to be reprimanded and held responsible. This kind of shit shouldn't fly at any level of government - federal, state, or otherwise.