Scot Ross, the former director of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now and progressive provocateur who regularly goads Republicans on social media, has resigned his post on the state Ethics Commission.
Ross, who informed Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley, D-Mason, of his immediate resignation on Thursday, didn’t make clear his reason for departing, but listed a number of grievances with Republicans, including promoting falsehoods about the November 2020 presidential election and efforts to restrict voting that fall disproportionally on nonwhite voters.
“In Wisconsin, the cavernous depths to which elected Republicans here will burrow to rig elections, evade public accountability and provide tacit support to the terrorist insurrection of January 6, 2021, are a clear and present danger to everyone in this state, regardless of political ideology,” Ross said. “I hope my departure can assist in increasing the diversity of the Wisconsin Ethics Commission membership to best serve its mission.”
Ross was appointed by former Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, in April 2020 for the position previously held by Tamara Packard. The term goes through May 2024.
Created in 2015, the six-member bipartisan Wisconsin Ethics Commission is tasked with ensuring an open and responsible government, and promoting individuals’ rights through the state’s campaign finance, lobbying and ethics laws.
Ross’ appointment to the ethics body was controversial, especially among Republicans, for his regular use of vulgar language to describe his conservative opponents, from former President Donald Trump to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, a practice he continued while serving on the ethics panel.
Ross joined One Wisconsin Now in 2007, and during his tenure helped increase the organization’s donor base and online support network. He departed in early 2019 to take a position in the private sector.
Among its many activities, One Wisconsin Now has focused on student debt and the influence of Milwaukee’s conservative Bradley Foundation, filed several lawsuits against Wisconsin Republicans and conducted opposition research on conservative candidates.
The group also won several significant legal challenges, including recent cases invalidating limits on early voting and overturning attempts by Republican lawmakers to block critics from following their Twitter accounts. In 2010, the group along with the conservative Wisconsin Club for Growth successfully sued to invalidate state rules that required so-called issue advocacy groups to disclose their donors and spending on thinly veiled political advertising.
In 2016, a federal judge struck down limits imposed by Republicans on in-person absentee voting that One Wisconsin Now and Citizen Action of Wisconsin argued were unfair to minority voters.
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