The Republican cochairs of the Legislature’s Audit Committee — Sen. Rob Cowles, of Green Bay, and Rep. Samantha Kerkman, of Salem — said in a statement they supported any necessary legal changes that would give the Audit Bureau ‘‘access to any records it needs.’’
Republican Sen. Mary Lazich, who pushed for the audit, said she had ‘‘major concerns’’ about the board being unaccountable to the people and would also support a law change.
And Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca said he was ‘‘deeply troubled’’ by the opinion and said he would work with Republicans to ensure the Audit Bureau can ‘‘access records to ensure our government agencies are serving taxpayers in the most efficient and effective ways possible.’’
Last year, the board voted in secret to authorize the probe and hired a special investigator. The investigation encompassed five counties. The Wisconsin Club for Growth, one of the conservative groups that were targeted, filed a lawsuit in May alleging that the board exceeded its authority and violated the group’s rights by launching the investigation.
A federal judge has suspended the investigation, and prosecutors are appealing that decision.
In February, the board’s director, Kevin Kennedy, asked for the attorney general’s opinion on whether the agency’s investigative records needed to be turned over to auditors.