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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

 10:24 AM 

Hubler puts off exec on Wood expulsion resolution after Nass doesn't show

Rep. Mary Hubler today delayed scheduling an exec on a resolution seeking to expel Jeff Wood from the Assembly until after the committee she chairs can first hear from Rep. Steve Nass, who proposed kicking him out.

Nass, R-Whitewater, did not attend today's hearing, instead sending the committee overseeing the expulsion resolution a memo on Tuesday dismissing some of Wood's defenses against being expelled.

Hubler, D-Rice Lake, and Rep. Tony Staskunas, D-West Allis, expressed their disappointment that Nass chose not to show up for the hearing, saying they wanted to ask him questions about his expulsion resolution. Hubler said she wanted to hold another public hearing to take Nass' testimony before scheduling an exec.

Nass aide Mike Mikalsen attended today's hearing and said afterward that Nass did not show up because of what he called a "circus atmosphere" in which Wood was allowed to cross examine anyone who chose to testify in favor of the expulsion resolution. Assembly rules grant anyone targeted in an expulsion resolution that opportunity, treating the hearing somewhat like a trial.

Mikalsen said cross examination should be limited to the issues in the resolution, noting that Wood has pulled a number of public records about Nass' background and seemed intent on making the hearing about Nass rather than his own actions.

During his testimony, Wood took a swipe at the Whitewater Republican, saying Nass was at one time $12,000 in arrears in child support and then sued his ex-wife to reduce his payments only to "say I haven't lived up to my moral and ethical obligations and doesn't bother to come here."

"I thought that was pretty pathetic," Wood said, never mentioning Nass by name. "I do take my moral and ethical obligations pretty seriously. Through counseling and some changes that I made, my marriage is back probably better than it ever has been. My family is doing pretty well."

Mikalsen said he attack exemplified why Nass chose not to attend the hearing and said Wood was distorting the case. He said Nass sued in part to get custody of his daughter and that the dispute over child support centered around how to count per diems in calculating his support.

Mikalsen complained Dem committee members did not bother to ask any questions about the evidence it had gathered about Wood's conduct, instead focusing on Nass, and declared "this has turned into a partisan process."

GOP committee members also did not ask about the evidence. Rep. Rich Zipperer of Pewaukee was the only Republican to ask a question, asking Wood if he disputed any of the charges in the resolutions pending against him.

"Rep. Nass' background is not in question. Rep. Wood's is," Mikalsen said.

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