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in this state by which the merits of the controversy can be examined into or can be tried. There is no proceedings known to our law by which the testimony of witnesses can be taken in this matter, so that Mr. Ekern welcomes this proceedings, because it is the only opportunity he can ever have to get under oath the testimony relating to the charges made to the governor by the executive clerk, to determine what the facts are and where the right of the matter rests. He welcomes it personally. He welcomes it too because it gives him a chance to vindicate his position and to bring before the people, not only the senators, but to bring before the people of the state, the entire proceedings in an orderly way.
The senate, under the message sent to it some time ago, is called upon to pass upon the question of the confirmation of the appointment, or pretended appointment, of Mr. Anderson. We submit that while it will take a few hours, yet we submit it is your righí, not cnly your right, but we submit it is your duty to know the facts with respect to that appointinent, that you may act intelligently when you vote upon the question of confirmation. So that if it takes a few hours we submit it will be time, or should be time, well spent. You have a right to know whether any officer, even the governor of the state, by crowding, anu crowding, and crowding witnesses, and then refusing to hear other witnesses, can deprive the senate of its jurisdiction in the matter.
We will read the testimony of the proceedings before the governor, and it will appear from that that he was straining every nerve to oust this officer before twelve o'clock. Why? Because if the hands had pointed to twelve o'clock then he lost jurisdiction and the matter would have to be submitted in an orderly way to the senate, and we have a right to consider whether a man, a governor, can travel post-haste in order to close the doors upon this very body, as he says he was seeking to do. Not only that we submit but the people of the state have a right to know, and you have a right to give them the only haring it is possible for the holder of the office to get under the laws of this state unless the assembly should investigate. It is the only way.
The people of Wisconsin are concerned with respect to this great office. They have a right to know if this great office of insurance commissioner is a mere pawn for some politician, I don't care who he is, to play. The people of the state have a right to know whether the office of insurance commissioner is a mere cog in somebody's political machine. I am not referring to the governor at all because this might just as well have happened before McGovern was elected, or might have happened if someone else had been elected, but the people have a right to know if that is the situation and condition with respect to this great office, and big office, and if it is, as the law now stands, simply a pawn that any governor may play, or a cog in someone's political machine, then I submit it would be entirely proper for the senate to initiate legislation that would put a stop to that condition.
The people have a right to know all the facts. Pardon me the allusion-I use it simply because it conforms to the factsthis senate has the right to know, and the people have a right to know, whether when a man has been appointed to a great office, whether, under the laws of Wisconsin, the executive can use a crowbar to instal a man in a great office. Now, if that is true, then it will suggest to the senate, the wisdom of the senators, to initiate a law that will put a stop to that thing, because the claim here, as we understand it, is that once the governor appoints a man to an office that unless that man walks out like a schoolboy without any backbone, that then he has a right to take a crowbar and a jimmy and batter down the office, he has a right to batter down the door and take him out. Now, if that is so--you camot do it with any county office in the state, you cannot do it with the sheriff. The law prescribes just what shall be done, and you cannot proceed in that way with the sheriff or any county office, and if the sheriff and the county officers have more rights in that respect than the insurance commissioners and the railway commissioners and the tax commissioners, then we submit that the senate ought to initiate laws that would.stop that kind of proceedings and insist on an orderly proceedings and a legal proceedings to oust an officer.
Not only that, if the committee please, the people and this senate have a right to know if the governor of a great state makes such a farce, and, under the pretense of a farce—there isn't any other name which you can call it-can say “Well, I have found that the officer is guilty as charged and therefore I remove him," the senate has a right to know if, under the guise of a hearing, the presiding officer or governor can have the order of dismissal or judgment of that court already written out before the hearing is started. The same as if the chairman of this committee would have the findings of fact already written out before he heard a word of the testimony. You have a right to know those things, and the people of the state have a right to know those things, and we charge that thing to be the fact. The people are not concerned in any petty quarrel between the governor and the commissioner. That is not it. This proceedings is far more far-reaching than that. If that is the fact you want to know it and the people want to know it, and you want to say that that thing shall not happen again, you do not care who is commissioner or who is governor, but you are concerned whether that thing can take place in the state of Wisconsin at all.
Now then, you have a right to know if this pro cedings and this order was made in good faith or not. We submit under the decisions of our courts you have a right to know whether a pretended order of removal was made in good faith cr not, and we believe that it was not made in good faith. You have a right to know with reference to the appointment which you are asked to confirm as a result of this proceedings. You have a right to know whether the gentleman who was certified to yoli, whether, as a clerk in the department of insurance commissioner, while acting as clerk anti acknowledging that the commissioner was at least a de facto commissioner and taking his orders from him, was secretly, for days, conniving with the governor of the state of Wisconsin to oust the head of that department, and the people of the state have a right to know whether the governor of Wisconsin will secretly confer and connive with a subordinate in a department in order with him to oust the head of that department.
We submit that the facts will show that that was true I am sorry, very sorry, that Ilis Excellency, the governor, has not seen fit to accept the invitation of the senate, or the subpoena of the senate, to come hers, and if he has counter evidence against anything we have to offer, to meet that evidence, but, in his wisdom, he has made his choice, and no one will trouble him with respect to it, but I do not like to say these things when a man is not here to defend himself, and yet those things we submit under the evidence are true.
Your decision in the matter will determine whether in deal.
ing with officers of this kind, important, high, dignified, officers, the proceedings shall be orderly, whether they shall be conducted in good faith or not, and whether the laws of the staie must be observed with respect to such removals or not, and we are glad to come in here where we can present our testimony fairly, and if anyone wishes to rebut it or question us with respect to it, we will be glad to have them do it.
Mr. Chairman then we offer the complaint that was made against the insurance commissioner by Harry Curran Wilbur, and it is very short. I will take the time to read it now.
STATE OF WISCONSIN,)
ss. Dane ('ounty, )
HARRY CURRAN WILBUR, being first duly sworn on oath deposes and says:
That he is now and at all the times hereinafter mentioned was a resident elector of the city and county of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that he is personally acquainted with Herman L. Ekern; that at all times since the 13th day of June, 1911, the said Herman L, Ekern was and still is the commissioner of insurance of the state of Wisconsin.
Deponent further says, upon information and belief, and charges the fact to be, that the said Herman L. Ekern is guilty of official mis-conduct and wilfull neglect of duty as such commissioner of insurance in this, to-wit:
That on and between the first day of January, A. D. 1913, and the 7th day of January, A. D. 1913, both inclusive, at the city of Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin, the said Herman L. Ekern did serve on and under the political committee and as manager of the political campaign, for one L. L. Johnson, who was then and there a candidate for the office of speaker of the assembly of the state of Wisconsin, contrary to the provisions of Section 1966 Y, of the Revised Statutes.
Senator Linley: What were those dates, please ?
Mr. John A. Aylward: The first day of January and the 7th day of January, that he served on and under a political committee and manager of Johnson's campaign.
The said affidavit was thereupon marked “Ekern's Exhibit Now, the order to show cause that was issued with that: “You are hereby notitied that on the oth day of January, A. D. 1913, at nine o'clock in the forencon of said day, at the executive office in the capitol, in the city of Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin, I will hear and determine the charges preferi ? by Herry Curran Wilbur as set forth in his certain affidarii nrcr ile in my face, a copy of which is hereunto annexed, and thereupon make such order relative to your retention in or removal from the office of commissioner of insurance of Wisconsin as the facts may warrant. At which time and place you will appear and be heard in your own behalf.
FRANCIS E. McGOVERN,
Governor. Dated at Madison, Wisconsin, this 7th day of January, A. D.
1913. .To llerman L. Ekern, Commissioner of Insurance, Madison,
Mr. Aylward: I simply offer, in that connection, this, if the Chairman please, the affidavit of William L. Essmann, showing that order to show cause made returnable at nine o'clock on January 8th, was served on the commissioner at 8:41 o'clock the same morning, thus giving him nine minutes for preparation.
The said affidavit of vir. Essmann, was thereupon marked “Ekern's Exhibit 2.”
Jr. Aylward: Now, if the Chairman please, we offer at this time the copy of the proceedings on this order to show cause, taken before the governor at his office pursuant to the order and notice and we will read them at this time.
IIEARING BY THE GOVERNOR
Mr. Olbrich: (Reading.)
At a hearing held in the executive office this 8th day of Jan. uary, 1913, before me, as Governor, to determine the charges preferred against Herman L. Ekern as commissioner of insurance for the state of Wisconsin by Harry C. Wilbur, as set forth in the written complaint herein, John A. Aylward and M. 0. Olbrich appearing as attorneys for the Commissioner, who was present personally.