The Destruction of Progressive Wisconsin

Last month, Mr. Walker signed a bill that allowed corporations to donate directly to political parties. On the same day, he signed a law that replaced the state’s nonpartisan Government Accountability Board, a body that is responsible for election oversight and enforcing ethics codes, with two commissions made up of partisan appointees

.. In 1905, Wisconsin became the third state to enact Civil Service reform, helping establish it as a national model for clean government. The reforms were one of the many achievements of Gov. Robert M. La Follette Sr., who later founded the Progressive Party and ran for president on its ticket. But Mr. Walker’s new Civil Service bill replaces anonymous exams with résumés, opening the door to political or racial bias that would prove almost impossible to detect because personnel files are not part of the public record.

.. it centralizes hiring within the Department of Administration, the most politicized agency in the state’s government. Incoming résumés would be judged by one of the governor’s appointees.

.. By adding the Civil Service bill, Mr. Walker brings Wisconsin closer to the achievement of a long-sought goal of the libertarian right: universal “at-will employment.”

.. In 2011, Mr. Walker assured state workers that they did not need their unions because of Wisconsin’s Civil Service rules. “In Wisconsin, the rights that most workers have have been set through the Civil Service system, which predates collective bargaining by several generations,” he said. “That doesn’t change. All the Civil Service protections — the strongest Civil Service system in the country — still strongly remains intact.”

.. In December, Senator Cruz encouraged his supporters to relieve Mr. Walker of his campaign debt, generating speculation that he might become the vice-presidential choice for the like-minded Mr. Cruz.