John Nygren Set To Return To Madison As A Lobbyist: This Shouldn’t Even Be Legal!

Two weeks ago I wrote that John Nygren, elected just a month before, had announced that he was retiring essentially effective immediately from the Wisconsin Assembly.

Well now it’s been announced that he will become a lobbyist for the Wisconsin Association of Health Plans. The maintenance staff in the Capitol building probably haven’t even had time to take his name off the office door yet…and he’s got a gig as a lobbyist in Madison? There’s no way that this wasn’t being negotiated while he was running for re-election and now leaving his constituents high and dry until the governor calls a special election (otoh: the Republican controlled legislature hasn’t done a lick of work since April, so they are getting the same level of representation today as they did, say last July).

Apparently Wisconsin doesn’t have a laws or ethics guidelines around an elected official quitting and immediately taking up a position to lobby their former colleagues. I think something to limit the ability to do this or to set a minimum time limit after leaving office and returning as an arm twister would be appropriate. But that probably isn’t likely given the current environment in Madison…although this would be in the best interests of all Wisconsin residents and all of their elected officials.

John Nygren, who resigned from the Wisconsin Assembly just a month after winning reelection, will be the new executive director of the Wisconsin Association of Health Plans, the lobbying group said Monday.

“I look forward to using my experience in health insurance and government to guide the Wisconsin Association of Health Plans,” Nygren said in a statement. “The pandemic has presented unique challenges for health care and forced the industry to quickly adjust to unique needs. My experience guiding complicated legislation into law will help the association during these uncertain times.”

Nygren, a Republican, quit the Assembly a month after winning his eighth term representing the 89th District, which includes eastern Marinette County, eastern Oconto County and northeast Brown County. He had served four terms as co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee.

He joined the financial services industry in 1998 and owns Great Lakes Insurance & Finance.

So, has anyone in the 89th District done anything more than rustle leaves so far about running in a special election to replace Mr. Nygren?

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2 thoughts on “John Nygren Set To Return To Madison As A Lobbyist: This Shouldn’t Even Be Legal!

    1. At a minimum Gregory.

      Nygren should have to return his $180K campaign warchest that voters sent to support him. The woman whom he is replacing had wanted to resign from her position on Jan 1 of this year but hung around until someone was found to replace her.

      It is hard to believe Nygren had not been potentially tapped for this job well before November 3, and if so that would be adding further intentional disdain for and insult to his constituents on top of the district’s extra costs for a special election.

      Reaches the outrageous levels of contempt for our democratic system exhibited by Toxic Tom Tiffany with his asking to overthrow our WI voters’ choices.

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