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Milwaukee county officials may have violated ethics code in ‘living wage’ vote

Two Milwaukee County Board members instrumental in passing a living wage ordinance may have violated the county’s code of ethics by accepting campaign contributions from Big Labor groups likely to benefit from the legislation.

At least two people with ties to Service Employees International Union agencies also appear to have defied the code by making contributions to the campaign of board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic.

County Supervisor David Bowen, who wrote the ordinance with help from SEIU representatives, also received campaign contributions from several SEIU-affiliated leaders while working on his living wage proposal.

The Milwaukee County code of ethics prohibits public officials from accepting anything of value from any person if it reasonably could be considered as a reward or is expected to influence that official’s vote or actions.

Chapter 9.05(2)(k) also states, “No person(s) with a personal financial interest in the approval or denial of a contract or proposal being considered by a county department or with an agency funded and regulated by a county department, shall make a campaign contribution to any county elected official who has approval authority over that contract or proposal during its consideration.”

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