The Last State Treasurer of Wisconsin
Posted: Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
That's the title that Kurt Schuller, Republican candidate for State Treasurer of Wisconsin hopes to hold soon.
"I am in favor and pledge to support a constitutional amendment to eliminate both the State Treasurer and Secretary of State as elected positions."
"Contrary to what many voters think, the Treasurer does not keep the books, do audits, write checks or have any power whatsoever to prevent or stop any governmental fiscal irresponsibility."
So what exactly does the Treasurer do?
"The office has only one duty laid out in Wisconsin's constitution. And that is to sit on the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. It also is responsible for managing the Division of Unclaimed Property and The Edvest College savings program."
The Current Treasurer, Dawn Sass has come under fire for lavish travel expenses, and backlogs at the Unclaimed Property division. She recently fired her Deputy Treasurer for hiring politically connected partisans to fill merit based positions. According to a Wisconsin State Journal article, "Good government advocate Jay Heck said he wasn't surprised by the allegations.
"The Treasurer's office is really sometimes a dumping ground for political appointments, " said Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin.
Schuller thinks it is time to bring an end to this corruption
"We spend millions of dollars to run this powerless office. It is a prime example of our bloated State Government wasting precious tax dollars by rewarding political cronies."
In 2003 Representative Scott Suder of Abbotsford introduced a constitutional amendment to eliminate these positions. Schuller hopes that if he is elected that amendment, or one similar can be revived. At the time such an amendment was estimated to save the taxpayers of Wisconsin three million dollars a year.
So why did Schuller, a resident of Eden Wisconsin who has never held political office, decide to take up this cause.
He attended the September Lakefront Tea Party rally in 2009 because he knew a family whose child had a rare cancer. He went there to show his support against the government take over of the health care system.
"Their child was given a 1 in 10 chance of surviving for 5 years. Fortunately they had good insurance coverage and decided they would throw the kitchen sink at their child's cancer. Their child received high dose chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. It was all very risky and very expensive, but they had the freedom and the resources to make that choice for themselves. I knew that under the Obama health care proposal that eventually other parents would be unable to make these kinds of choices. I could foresee a day that a government panel would label this as too risky and expensive and would not approve it."
Schuller said the whole experience at the Tea Party rally inspired him to get into politics.
"I am a man of modest means and strong conservative fiscal values. Seeing the corruption at the Treasurer office, and the fact that it is a low profile race that attracts little attention, made me think that it was an attainable goal. If elected, I hope to use my success in eliminating the office as a springboard to a "real" political office. A seat in the Assembly or Senate where I can actually accomplish some good for the people and State of Wisconsin."
Schuller is facing the former Deputy Treasurer, Scott Feldt in the September Republican Party primary..
"There is no doubt that Scott is the establishment Republican choice. He was Deputy Treasurer under former State Treasurer Jack Voight, has served on the Rock County Board, and was recently Director of Economic Development for the city of East Moline. He has spent most of his career in either elected or appointed positions of government. It is how he makes his living and I don't begrudge him that. But I believe that this is an idea whose time has come, and these offices need to be eliminated. That will never happen if we elect Mr. Feldt.