In September 2009, Wisconsin State Treasurer Dawn Marie Sass said she forced out her deputy John Lease for putting Democratic loyalists into jobs supposed to be insulated from politics.
Reversing herself from a past statement, Sass said in an interview last week the politically motivated hires included two that had been called into question by a Wisconsin State Journal report in 2008 and said they had been suggested by Gov. Jim Doyle's office.
A Doyle spokesman denied the claim.
In the interview, Sass said that her deputy, John Lease, a former aide to Doyle and Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton, brought Democrats into the Treasurer's office to fill merit-based civil service jobs.
"(Lease) has tried to politicize the office more than I have felt it should be politicized," Sass said. "He thought I should have more politically loyal people here in the office and not civil service people."
Sass, who had the ultimate authority over the hires, did not say why she didn't refuse to go ahead with them.
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.
Lease started in Sass' office after she unexpectedly knocked off Republican incumbent Jack Voight in the 2006 election. Sass had not previously held elected office.
Lease, whose job was a political appointment, agreed with her decision he should leave, Sass said.