OPEN RECORDS LAW

Open government advocates fume as GOP senator claims immunity from records law

2013-09-14T05:30:00Z 2013-09-14T05:54:03Z Open government advocates fume as GOP senator claims immunity from records lawMARY SPICUZZA | Wisconsin State Journal | mspicuzza@madison.com | 608-252-6122 madison.com

Open government advocates are crying foul after a Republican state senator argued a liberal group cannot sue her over public records while the Legislature is in session.

Should Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, prevail, lawmakers could refuse to comply with the records law and could not be sued for any reason, observers said.

Vukmir has been in a legal battle with the Madison-based Center for Media and Democracy for months, with the group accusing her of violating the state’s open records law by failing to turn over records related to her involvement with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-financed conservative think tank that prepares legislation for lawmakers.

Vukmir filed a motion in Dane County Circuit Court this week arguing that she is immune from being sued while she remains in office.

The state Department of Justice, led by Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen — charged with enforcing the state’s records law — filed the motion on her behalf.

Open records advocates argue that Vukmir is claiming to be above the law.

“Our state’s openness laws are fundamental to its ability to function as a democracy. Members of the Legislature, which passed these laws, ought to respect that,” the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council said in a statement. “We call upon Sen. Vukmir to reconsider her position in light of the damage it could cause to the state.”

Dennis Dresang, professor emeritus of public affairs and political science and founding director of the UW-Madison La Follette School of Public Affairs, said he would be surprised if her controversial argument held up in court.

“It would make the whole open records law a joke if you couldn’t enforce it,” Dresang said.

He added that he was surprised the state Justice Department would make such an argument, saying “it seems more partisan than based on logic.”

But Assistant Attorney General Daniel P. Lennington argued in the motion that a civil lawsuit can interfere with members’ ability to serve those in their districts.

“A civil lawsuit can interfere with a Member’s full participation representing her constituents, and when a legislator cannot appear because of a civil lawsuit, then the people whom the legislator represents lose their voice in debate and vote,” he wrote.

Legislative sessions currently run continuously from the day lawmakers are sworn in until the next swearing in, which is two years later. The next two-year legislative session typically begins on that day.

Brendan Fischer, CMD general counsel, called the motion an “outrageous move.”

“It would basically mean the open records law is optional for lawmakers,” Fischer said. “There would be no penalties if they refuse to comply.”

Fischer said it appears Van Hollen is helping to dismantle the open records law in an effort to keep ALEC’s records secret.

Vukmir staffer Dean Cady referred questions to the Justice Department, citing ongoing litigation.

Wisconsin is one of many states that have some sort of legislative immunity provisions included in its state constitution.

Rick Esenberg, the founder and president and general counsel of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, said Vukmir’s motion raises questions about what it means for the Legislature to be in session.

“My sense is there’s no case law that settles this one way or the other,” Esenberg said.

The group represented the conservative John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy in a lawsuit against Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, which sought emails from constituents.

Erpenbach said he consulted the Justice Department in that case and got an extremely different reaction.

“He refused to provide any counsel other than to tell me to acquiesce to the conservative organization’s request,” Erpenbach said.

Dana Brueck, Justice Department spokeswoman, said Erpenbach has no knowledge of the agency’s discussions with Vukmir.

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(46) Comments

  1. rockysfan
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    rockysfan - September 16, 2013 11:34 am
    That would be fine but JB is clearly partisan. Both are partisan but I'm looking forward to the fear in Walkers' eyes. AMEN!
  2. rockysfan
    Report Abuse
    rockysfan - September 16, 2013 11:30 am
    Hate to shake your little world, Vukmir, but you most certainly can be sued while in office. It is up to DOJ to then represent you, IF you are in scope of employment. Out of office, you are on your own with legal support. THAT is the only difference. Now, when the judge laughs you out of the courtroom, you will be compelled to turn over the documents.
    Anyone want to lay bets the documents will then cease to exist? Who's taking?
  3. GodHeals
    Report Abuse
    GodHeals - September 16, 2013 4:30 am
    Why do you not have a problem with virtually every piece of legislation pushed by the GOP since 2010 was written by a multinational corporation via ALEC (go to http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed and be prepared to be floored by the rigged agenda and more importantly for you find out why ALEC Exposed has not be successfully challenged for anything printed on their web page so lets see if you can find a lie, because it sure looks like the GOP in this and dozens of other states are lying by saying who they represent). I can say I have no problem being run over by a cement mixer every so many years but does it make it any sense?
  4. guirkymondo
    Report Abuse
    guirkymondo - September 15, 2013 8:50 pm
    And Vos. He was in on this from the beginning...and I'm CERTAIN there is a nasty little tie to his BFF and former roommate, RNC Chair Reince Priebus.
  5. guirkymondo
    Report Abuse
    guirkymondo - September 15, 2013 8:38 pm
    I think we all know Leah Vukmir has only one "constituent"...named ALEC.
  6. Report Abuse
    - September 15, 2013 7:53 pm
    Not an empty statement....just the facts. Barack has used executive privilege and abused and stretched his powers to push hi personal liberal agenda far beyond what the electorate wanted. Using the EPA to Sue and Settle to circumvent our elected reps is a great example.
  7. Report Abuse
    - September 15, 2013 7:50 pm
    I disagree with idea/your plan that a AG should be either Dem or republican. They should be non-partisan. Do I agree with JB on everything? No Way, but I highly doubt I would agree much with a "DEM" AG. Maybe with one who serves the law as written, and not as interpreted by the fringe elements
  8. Report Abuse
    - September 15, 2013 7:47 pm
    I have no problem with any elected officials being involved with ALEC or any group like this. We vote for them so it's our choice. What does this have to do with Open records?
  9. Nav
    Report Abuse
    Nav - September 15, 2013 9:36 am
    Your father was a wise man, and this lot of Republicans is the most corrupt ever.
  10. pikerover
    Report Abuse
    pikerover - September 15, 2013 9:17 am
    For those who know not of what BananaSplitz is talking about I believe it's .... All animals are created equal but some are more equal than others.
    My father always said nothing good can come from one party being in charge of every aspect of government. In Wisconsin the Republicans have Da Govna, the Assembly, the Senate, the AG. All with F-You attitude to the public.
  11. ArchieBunkersKidBrother
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    ArchieBunkersKidBrother - September 15, 2013 6:43 am
    Oh, I'd say his agenda is pretty transparent.
  12. ArchieBunkersKidBrother
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    ArchieBunkersKidBrother - September 15, 2013 6:42 am
    So Van Hollen would not represent or counsel Jon Erpenbach -( D) but jumps to defend Vukmir - (R) and all the right wing trolls seem to think this is alright? Thought so.,
  13. GodHeals
    Report Abuse
    GodHeals - September 15, 2013 3:56 am
    What does that suppose to mean? Grow up and get dementia so they can not remember this is a Government to Represent the People of elected Representatives not Multinational Corporations represented by ALEC and a lead backer of those interests the Koch Brothers. In case, anyone questions who the GOP in this state truly represents:

    Wisconsin Legislators with ALEC Ties
    Assembly

    Rep. Tyler August (R-32),[1] ALEC International Relations Task Force[2] /Federal Relations Working Group Member, Education Task Force Member[3]
    Rep. Joan Ballweg (R-41), ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Alternate[4] , Public Safety and Elections Task Force Alternate[5]
    Rep. Kathy Bernier (R-68), ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force Member [6]
    Rep. David Craig (R-83), received a $750 ALEC "scholarship" in 2012[7]
    Rep. Mike Endsley (R-26), ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Member [8]
    Rep. Mark Honadel (R-21)
    Rep. Andre Jacque (R-2), ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Member[9] , International Relations Task Force Member[10]
    Rep. Chris Kapenga (R-99),[1] ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Alternate [11]
    Rep. John Klenke (R-88), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Alternate[12], Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Member[13]
    Rep. Dan Knodl (R-24), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force Alternate[14], Public Safety and Elections Task Force Alternate[15]
    Rep. Dean Knudson (R-30), ALEC Education Task Force Alternate[16]
    Rep. Bill Kramer (R-97),[1] ALEC Communications and Technology Task Force Alternate[17] , Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Member[18]
    Rep. Scott Krug (R-72), ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force Alternate [6]
    Rep. Mike Kuglitsch (R-84),[1] ALEC International Relations Task Force[19] , Civil Justice Task Force Member [20]
    Rep. Tom Larson (R-67), ALEC Communications and Technology Task Force Member[21]
    Rep. Daniel LeMahieu (R-59), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Alternate [22]
    Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-45), ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Alternate[23]
    Rep. Stephen Nass (R-33),[1] Education Task Force Member[24] , International Relations Task Force Member[25]
    Rep. John Nygren (R-89)[1], ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force Member[26], Education Task Force Member[27]
    Rep. Warren Petryk (R-93), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force Member[28]
    Rep. Keith Ripp (R-42)
    Rep. Michael Schraa (R-53), disclosed $1,200 in expenses related to ALEC in 2012 that had not yet been reimbursed[7]
    Rep. Erik Severson (R-28), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force Member[29]
    Rep. Jim Steineke (R-5), ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force Member[30]
    Rep. Jeffrey Stone (R-82)
    Rep. Patricia Strachota (R-58), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Member [22]
    Rep. Scott Suder (R-69), ALEC State Chairman,[31] Public Safety and Elections Task Force Member [6] and Co-chair of the Homeland Security Committee in 2007[32]
    Rep Rob Swearingen (R-34)[1]
    Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-52), ALEC Education Task Force Alternate[33]
    Rep. Travis Tranel (R-49), ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force Alternate [6]
    Rep. Robin Vos (R-63), State Chairman,[31] Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Member, [22] and attended 2011 ALEC annual meeting[34]
    Rep. Chad Weininger (R-4), ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force Alternate[35]

    Senate

    Sen. Alberta Darling (R-8)[36], ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Alternate[37], Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Member[38]
    Sen. Michael Ellis (R-19)
    Sen. Paul Farrow (R-33),[1] ALEC Communications and Technology Task Force Member[39], Education Task Force Member[40]
    Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R-13), ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force Member [6] and former State Chairman - A staff member stated in a July 2013 email to constituents that Sen. Fitzgerald is no longer an ALEC member.[41] Please see Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
    Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-20), ALEC Education Task Force Member[42], International Relations Task Force Member[43]
    Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-10)
    Sen. Neal Kedzie (R-11)
    Sen. Frank Lasee (R-1), ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Alternate[44]
    Sen. Mary Lazich (R-28), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force Member[45] - Sen. Lazich told a constituent by email in March 2013 that she is no longer an ALEC member.[46] Please see Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
    Sen. Terry Moulton (R-23), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Member[47]
    Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-5),[1] ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force Co-chair[48]

    Former Representatives

    Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald (R-39), ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Member[49]
    Former Rep. Michael Huebsch (R), ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force Member[50] , International Relations Task Force Member[51] and former State Chairman[52]
    Former Speaker Scott Jensen (R), ALEC Member[53]
    Rep. Joseph Knilans (R-44), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Alternate[54], Communications and Technology Task Force Member[55]
    Rep. Michelle Litjens (R-56), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force Alternate, Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force Member [56]
    Former Rep. Phil Montgomery (R) (head of the Wisconsin Public Services Commission as of 2011)[57], Communications and Technology Task Force Member[58]
    Former Rep. Betty Jo Nelsen, former ALEC Assembly Vice Chairman[59]
    Rep. Roger Rivard (R-75), ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force Member [60]
    Former Rep. Loiita Schneiders (former Minority Caucus Secretary)[59]
    Rep. Karl Van Roy (R-90), ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force Member[57]
    Former Rep. Susan Vergeront, former ALEC Assembly Membership Coordinator[59]
    Rep. Evan Wynn (R-43), ALEC Education Task Force Alternate[61]
    Former Rep. Dwight York, former ALEC Assembly Legislative Coordinator[59]

    Former Senators

    Former Sen. Susan Engeleiter (R-Waukesha, former Senate Minority Leader, former Honeywell Vice President of Government Affairs, now CEO of Data Recognition Corporation, a privately held company that provides services to state departments of education, medium-to-large-size global businesses and to the United States government[62])[59]
    Former Sen. Pam Galloway (R-29), ALEC International Relations Task Force Member[63] (resigned from office on March 17, 2012)
    Former Sen. Randy Hopper (legislator)|Randy B. Hopper]] (R-18), ALEC Communications and Technology Task Force Member, International Relations Task Force[64] Member, Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Alternate, Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Member[65] (recalled and removed from office August 9, 2011)
    Former Sen. Dan Kapanke (R-32), ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force Alternate[66] (recalled and removed from office August 9, 2011)
    Former Sen. Alan Lasee (replaced by his younger cousin, Sen. Frank Lasee), former ALEC Senate Vice Chairman[59]
    Former Sen. Joseph Leean, former ALEC Senate Membership Coordinator[59]
    Former Sen. Peggy Rosenzweig (R) sat on board of UW system, 2003-2008, later sat on board of Wisconsin Technical College System. [67]
    Former Sen. Brian Rude, former ALEC Senate Legislative Coordinator[59]
    Former Sen. Donald Stitt (R-Port Washington), former ALEC State Chairman[59]
    Former Sen. Greg Underheim (R) [67]
    Former Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-21), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Member[68], Communications and Technology Task Force Member[69] - recalled June 2012[70]
    Sen. Rich Zipperer (R-33), ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Member[71]

    Wisconsin Legislators With ALEC References in Blue Books

    Sen. Donald K. Stitt (R) – State Chairman of ALEC (1987-1988), Member (1991-1992 and 1993-1994) (also State Chairman in 1986[72])
    Rep. Susan B. Vergeront (R) – WI Chairperson (1989-1990 and maybe 1991-1992)
    Task Force on Empowerment, Family and Urban Planning
    ALEC Legislator of the year (1991)
    Rep. Marc C. Duff (R) - (1991 – 1998)
    Rep. Annette P. Williams (D) – America’s Outstanding State Legislator Award (1990)
    Mary Lazich (R) – Member (1993 – 1998)
    Timothy T. Hoven (R) – Member (1995-1998)
    Task Force Commerce and Economic Development (1997-1998)
    Michael Huebsch (R) – Member (1995-1996)* Huebsch was the state co-chairman in at least 2010 if not before, until he became an appointee of Governor Scott Walker in 2011
    Mark A. Green (R) – State Chairman (1995-1998)
    Jeffrey T. Plale (D) – Member (1997-2010)
    Tommy Thompson (R) – Thomas Jefferson Award Winner (1991)
    Neal Kedzie (R) – Member (1999-2010)
    Jeff Fitzgerald (R) – Member (2001-2011)
    Bonnie L. Ladwig (R) – Member (2001-2002)
    Steve Wieckert (R) – Member (2003-2004)
    Scott Walker (R) – Member (1995 – 1998)
    Judith Klusman (R) – Member, Task Force on Telecommunications and Agriculture
    David A. Zien (R) – Member (1995 – 1996)
    Scott Suder (R) – Criminal Justice Task Force Co-Chair (2002-2004), Member (2002-2010)
    Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine)[73]

    Wisconsin Legislators Mentioning ALEC in their Statements of Economic Interest
    2012 Assembly

    Tyler August (R) - Received $1,229
    David Craig (R) - Received $750 ALEC scholarship, but noted on his ethics statement that he had not yet received payment
    Dan Knodl (R) - Received $2,250
    Dean Knudson (R) - Received $1,500
    Mike Kuglitsch (R) - Received $750
    Michael Schraa (R) - Disclosed $1,200 in expenses from ALEC that had not yet been reimbursed
    Jim Steineke (R) - $2,050 in ALEC expenses[7]

    2011 Senate

    Scott Fitzgerald (R) - Received $1,529.93

    2011 Assembly

    Jeff Fitzgerald (R) - Received $1,329
    Dan Knodl (R) - Received $2,000
    Patricia Strachota (R) - Received $1,404
    Robin Vos (R) - Received $? (No specific amount)

    2010 Senate

    Scott Fitzgerald (R) - Received $1,466.93

    2010 Assembly

    Scott Suder (R) - Received $1,200 from ALEC and $1,400 from the Heartland Institute
    Michael Huebsch (R) - Received $2,000

    2009 Assembly

    Kitty Rhoades (R) - Received $575
    Jeffery Stone (R) - Received $1,200
    Scott Suder (R) - Received $2,200

    Wisconsin Legislators Paying ALEC Membership Fees with Tax Dollars

    Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse): $100 – 2/1/2011
    Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin): $100 – 2/1/2011
    Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls): $100 – 2/1/2011
    Van Wanggaard (R-Racine): $100 – 2/1/2011
    Rich Zipperer (R-Pewaukee): $100- 2/1/2011
    Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau): $100 – 1/1/2011
    Pam Galloway (R-Wausau): $100 – 1/1/2011
    Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend): $100 – 1/1/2011
    Frank Lasee (R): $200 – 1/1/2011
    Alberta Darling (R-River Hills): $200 – 1/1/2009
    Michael Ellis (R-Neenah): $100 – 1/1/2009
    Neal Kedzie (R-Neenah): $100 – 1/1/2007
    Michael Ellis (R-Neenah): $100 – 1/1/2007
    Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau): $200 – 1/1/2007[74]
  14. bluffsinview
    Report Abuse
    bluffsinview - September 14, 2013 9:43 pm
    ALEC and WMC (Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce) are writing the laws that affect us all. They lobby for corporations and have laws passed that dispose of the rights of consumers and property owners. Look at what they got passed: No state taxes on manufacturers altho they use our state roads, bridges and services as much or more than an average citizen, no property owner can sue for damages if they wells go dry or are contaminated by a corporation's activities (like the mining company), renters have lost numerous rights, they've passed laws that forbid people to sue for liability over product defects, they've almost eliminated environmental regulations to benefit polluting companies, they highly regulated wind-turbine companies to benefit gas and oil interests and pushed them out of the state, and did all that create jobs? No. We're at the bottom and WMC lied in their ad that thanks Scott Walker. All the facts prove it.
  15. bluffsinview
    Report Abuse
    bluffsinview - September 14, 2013 9:34 pm
    Republicans fear transparency - they melt under scrutiny.
  16. bluffsinview
    Report Abuse
    bluffsinview - September 14, 2013 9:33 pm
    Amen to that.
  17. aspire
    Report Abuse
    aspire - September 14, 2013 9:12 pm
    When will the libs in madison grow up?
  18. Nav
    Report Abuse
    Nav - September 14, 2013 7:11 pm
    I second that!
  19. Mr Mellow
    Report Abuse
    Mr Mellow - September 14, 2013 6:27 pm
    Just checked, and JB's up for election in 2014. Lets send JB back to the private sector.

    A Democratic AG could put some fear into Walker, Vos, Fitzgerald, Vukmir, Nygren, etc.
  20. GodHeals
    Report Abuse
    GodHeals - September 14, 2013 5:36 pm
    What a Copy and Paste empty statement.

    Can you tell me who pushed to Deregulate Wall Street ? Deregulate most everything ? Yes, Bill Clinton was central to it all in that he served as a rubber stamp for the republicans but it was Republicans throughout history that always want to game the international system to crush everyone but the very rich and powerful so the everyone else gets the idea they need to cannibalize each other (Walker called it Divide and Conquer in the celebrated video: http://youtu.be/K1S_Pxw2n-U ) and let the rich laugh so hard they spit saliva as they watch the middle and lower classes argue against their own rights in this world
  21. Nav
    Report Abuse
    Nav - September 14, 2013 5:17 pm
    http://www.bluecheddar.net/?p=35334

    This video should be thrown at Van Hollen because it is HIM talking. HE is another Republican fake!
  22. Andy Olsen
    Report Abuse
    Andy Olsen - September 14, 2013 2:57 pm
    Who is Daniel P. Lennington?
    "Dan Lennington is an assistant attorney general with the Wisconsin Department of Justice. He practices in the areas of constitutional law, privacy law, and public records. Education: B.A. (Hillsdale College), Law Degree (Valparaiso University). Before joining the DOJ, Dan has been in private practice and also served as a federal prosecutor."
    https://m360.wasbo.com/event/speaker.aspx?eventID=73465&speakerID=6016998

    * Note: Hillsdale College is highly ideological. I get mailings from them and they promote a radical and counter-factual historical revisionism. They are out there on the fringe.

    He's a newcomer:
    "1 year since Daniel P. Lennington was first licensed to practice law" in Wisconsin.
    http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/53707-wi-daniel-lennington-4426500.html

    Does he come from Michigan? Did he write this article? If so, he seems to be a culture warrior, using our DOJ to wage his war on Wisconsin.
    http://www.crosswalk.com/1285378/

    He handled a high-profile abortion case for Van Hollen's DOJ:
    "Assistant Attorney General Dan Lennington defended the admission requirement, saying doctors who perform abortions at a clinic are the best ones to treat women after they've been admitted to the hospital if a problem arises."

    and

    "Lennington said it would not be a burden for women in northern Wisconsin who would have gone to Appleton to instead drive farther to have the procedure done in Minneapolis or Milwaukee."
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/07/08/judge-blocks-new-wisconsin-abortion-law/

    He seems to have backed other odd legal arguments:
    "The judge also rejected Gottlieb's sovereign immunity claim, which is derived from the 11th Amendment and protects state officials from being sued in federal court for anything they did within their official capacities."
    http://www.law360.com/articles/411156/civil-rights-claim-nixed-in-1-7b-milwaukee-highway-row

    Van Hollen is running a highly partisan and movement conservative DOJ. That's a big problem.
  23. Lionhear
    Report Abuse
    Lionhear - September 14, 2013 2:32 pm
    Start with President Obama.
  24. Andy Olsen
    Report Abuse
    Andy Olsen - September 14, 2013 12:45 pm
    OK, that is pretty much what I wanted to say, as well. Serving ALEC and the far-flung corporations and plutocrats it represents is a far greater distraction than fulfilling her obligations under the law.

    I'll add that his argument is actually a legislative argument about the existence and intent of Wisconsin's Open Records Law. It's not about the plain language of the law, which J.B. Van Hollen has abandoned for partisan purposes.


  25. axolotlsx5
    Report Abuse
    axolotlsx5 - September 14, 2013 12:15 pm
    why is it that people in the goverment think they are above the law. as a goverment worker you are put there to work for the people not your buddies in goverment. i think the entire goverment needs to be fired and start all over cause i dont trust any of them.
  26. witness2012
    Report Abuse
    witness2012 - September 14, 2013 12:01 pm
    It's John Nygren, not Richard, but totally agree with you.
  27. witness2012
    Report Abuse
    witness2012 - September 14, 2013 12:00 pm
    That statement from AAG Lennington jumped out at me as being particularly egregious.

    The whole point is that when legislators attend ALEC conferences, they are NOT representing their constituents, but corporations who wine and dine them and give them pre-written laws to push through in their legislatures.

    If citizens of the state do not have the right to see what goes on at these conferences, what WOULD be considered of sufficient public interest to the AG?
  28. Migraine
    Report Abuse
    Migraine - September 14, 2013 11:21 am
    ALEC spends decades and secret billions doing the work of drafting and promoting legislation at conventions all over to make government smaller and less costly.

    Much like leaving your fridge door open to cool your house.
  29. Nav
    Report Abuse
    Nav - September 14, 2013 10:12 am
    The Attorney General is responsible for implementing the laws of the State. THIS attorney General is much more activist and ALWAYS an advocate of what the Walker administration wants. Krauthammer always disapproves of ANYTHING President Obama does, Val Hollen always approves of AMYTHING the Governor wants. This is why people like Van Hollen and Krauthammer have NO credibility because bias is built into their work, and it is obvious to all except for the tea party crowd.
  30. Duane12
    Report Abuse
    Duane12 - September 14, 2013 9:48 am
    The questions to be asked here is if Van Hollen is just the advocate for Walker, ALEC, and the GOP and if the people of Wisconsin have no justice from or representation by the state Attorney General?
  31. davea
    Report Abuse
    davea - September 14, 2013 8:28 am
    You mean "do what I say, not what I do"!
  32. johnnn
    Report Abuse
    johnnn - September 14, 2013 7:36 am
    From the article: “A civil lawsuit can interfere with a Member’s full participation representing her constituents, and when a legislator cannot appear because of a civil lawsuit, then the people whom the legislator represents lose their voice in debate and vote,” he wrote.

    Restatement: “Attending an ALEC event can interfere with a Member’s full participation representing her constituents, and when a legislator cannot appear because of an ALEC event, then the people whom the legislator represents lose their voice in debate and vote,” he wrote.

  33. Wis_taxpayer
    Report Abuse
    Wis_taxpayer - September 14, 2013 7:19 am
    When you can't formulate a coherent argument, change the subject.
  34. pal
    Report Abuse
    pal - September 14, 2013 7:07 am
    Perhaps we should ask Republican members of the Finance Committee, all of whom are ALEC members, to turn over their notes from ALEC meetings, including Alberta Darling and Richard Nygren. That would make for interesting reading, wouldn't it?
  35. kjsdaddio
    Report Abuse
    kjsdaddio - September 14, 2013 5:59 am
    If she would have just followed the open records rule, we wouldn't be commenting on this and no money would have been wasted paying lawyers and records keepers. I constantly hear Republicans complain there is no transparency in Washington, why is Wisconsin government any different? Someone said here that she must have something to hide, ok, if she doesn't have anything to hide, let's have it, come on, give it up Princess Leah!
  36. ButSiriuslyFolks
    Report Abuse
    ButSiriuslyFolks - September 13, 2013 11:39 pm
    Coward.
  37. milton's fried man
    Report Abuse
    milton's fried man - September 13, 2013 9:48 pm
    What are you babbling about gotchdogblaska? Your team is a bunch of criminal fascists and your answer to anyone who question their legitimacy is to shriek " look over there" and point to washington
  38. witness2012
    Report Abuse
    witness2012 - September 13, 2013 9:47 pm
    What's interesting is that Chris Taylor attended an ALEC event in Chicago in August, specifically requested the documents from the sessions she attended- btw, she paid her own way- and didn't receive them.

    The ALEC organizers treat Democrats differently than 'true believer' Republicans, apparently.
  39. BananaSplitz
    Report Abuse
    BananaSplitz - September 13, 2013 9:25 pm
    Time for everyone to read Animal Farm--oh, why bother consulting modern prophets, my bad.
  40. RichardSRussell
    Report Abuse
    RichardSRussell - September 13, 2013 9:16 pm
    I'm curious as to why the Center for Media and Democracy — dedicated to conducting the public's business where the public can see it — is being characterized as a liberal group? Don't conservatives believe in that principle as well? In fat, aren't they the ones most likely to raise alarms about "where my tax dollars are going"? Surely they're not the ones who'd be satisfied with "We're not gonna tell ya!"?
  41. Stuck In The Middle With You
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    Stuck In The Middle With You - September 13, 2013 8:14 pm
    Is Leah or J B ALEC's biggest political lot lizard?
  42. PatrickL
    Report Abuse
    PatrickL - September 13, 2013 7:29 pm
    Ms. Vukmir is a member of the inner circle of ALEC. An organization that has written every major piece of legislation passed in the last few years of this Republican administration. Does it come as a surprise that Wisconsin citizens would be interested and disgusted by this roadblock? This is going to turn out to be Joe and Mary Wisconsin Vs. ALEC. It's a fight that Ms. Vukmir will do anything in her power to avoid.
  43. Cornelius Gotchberg
    Report Abuse
    Cornelius Gotchberg - September 13, 2013 6:57 pm
    @Nav;

    Might she opt to spend million$ to hire a coterie of ideologically certified lackies to seal her past?

    This has been done successfully before thanks to unquestioning throngs of high-level-thinkers.

    I just can't recall when; can you?

    The Gotch

  44. davea
    Report Abuse
    davea - September 13, 2013 6:47 pm
    Walker may not have a degree, but he sure is a good teacher of non-tranparency!
  45. human
    Report Abuse
    human - September 13, 2013 6:39 pm
    I'm waiting for Walker to advise Vukmir to "follow the rules" and not to expect "special treatment."

    It might be a long wait.
  46. Nav
    Report Abuse
    Nav - September 13, 2013 6:14 pm
    Clearly she has a few things to hide.

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