Column: Convicted felon wins Sokaogon election

"Arlyn Ackley doesn't sport the type of resume typical of most successful politicians: a few drunken-driving arrests and two stints in prison - once for drugs and once for stealing more than $38,000 from his tribe, the Sokaogon (Mole Lake) Chippewa.

Toss in being booted out as chairman back when the feds seized control of the tribe's casino in 1998, and you might think Ackley's career as a tribal pol would be kaput.

Guess again.

Ackley is back in charge of the Mole Lake tribe, having been elected chairman by a one-vote margin earlier this month. His razor-thin victory, on a vote of 113-112, over incumbent Sandra Rachal was affirmed during a contentious recount last week. Another candidate finished a distant third.

"We don't have anything in our constitution that says felons cannot run for office," said Debra VanZile, a veteran tribal judge who served as one of the three officials overseeing the election and the recount. "We've had previous council members who were felons."

True enough. In fact, one need only look at Ackley's political and criminal histories for proof."

Get the Story:
Cary Spivak & Dan Bice: 2-time felon wins way back to tribal post (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 1/21)

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