Today, Wisconsin State Senator Mark Miller sent an interesting letter to the law offices of Michael, Best, and Friedrich. In the letter, Sen. Miller touches on the fact that since State Sen. Pam Galloway resigned, the State Senate in Wisconsin is now evenly split 16-16. Since there is no real majority, and Sen. Miller was the minority leader before the Galloway resignation, he is now the Co-Majority Leader of the Senate along with State Senator Scott Fitzgerald. This possible revelation coud have resounding effects, especially when it comes to redistricting and the flow of "client privileged information".
For those who do not remember, or are unfamiliar, the attorneys at Michael, Best, and Friedrich (MBF from here on) are the same attorneys who "aided" in the redistricting fiasco that is still playing out herein Wisconsin. These attorneys, along with the then-Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald had their lower level counterparts sign a confidentiality agreement to keep the blatant gerrymeandering under wraps. In the original contract between Fitgerald and MBF, it is explicitly stated that MBF represents the State Senate via its Majority Leader, Sen. Scott L. Fitzgerald.
Under these terms, Senator Miller has come to the conclusion that since there is no clear majority by either party, he and Senator Fitzgerald now share the honors together. In Senator Miller's letter to MBF, he states that since he is now the Co-Majority Leader he is now privvy to all communications from MBF to the State Senate or other realms of the Government.
Of course, MBF and Sen. Fitzgerald have put up a stink and claim they will continue to do business as usual. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
"I'm still dealing directly with them," Fitzgerald said. "They said the contract is still between Senator Fitzgerald and the firm. . . . That relationship is still intact."At this point, it is unclear what will actually happen in regards to communications between MBF and the Wisconsin Senate. Some have argued that their could be legal or ethics ramifications should MBF refuse to work with anyone but Sen. Fitzgerald. Others have argued that since there is no clear majority, the contract should be null and void.
Michael Best attorney Eric McLeod confirmed the firm would continue to take direction from Fitzgerald.
"Until there's a change in the contract via some action taken by the Senate, we're simply operating under the contract as it was previously written," McLeod said.
Regardless, I have a feeling this fight won't be a quiet one. My biggest question to Republicans is simple: If you aren't trying to hide anything, or do anything illegal or unethical, whats the issue?