Republicans tried to shrug it off, saying the Senate was no longer in session anyway, so nya nya nya! Democrats countered with the obvious point that being out of session never stooped any legislature from calling a special session. With control of the chamber came an end to Gov. Scott Walker's agenda ... at least until after the November elections.
But now we see that there's more to controlling the state Senate.
A law firm Republicans hired to draw new election maps is giving Democrats access to its legal file, a move that will allow them - and likely the public at large - to review the steps GOP lawmakers took last year to draw political boundaries benefiting their party.During the redistricting process, Republicans kept a tight lid on any information related to their gerrymandering efforts.
Some records have previously been released under court order. But Republicans and the law firm they hired, Michael Best & Friedrich, blocked for months the release of a host of other documents Democrats sought, such as those protected by attorney-client privilege.
Democrats are able to get the file now because they took over the Senate this week after John Lehman defeated Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard in a June 5 recall race in Racine County. Lehman wasn't sworn in until Monday because of a recount that took about a month.
[Senate Republican leader Scott] Fitzgerald and the firm tried to keep much of their work on the maps from the public, at one point requiring virtually all GOP members to sign secrecy agreements in order to review maps of their districts. Michael Best resisted releasing documents during the trial and eventually was ordered to pay about $17,500 for filing frivolous motions to prevent their release.The citizens of Wisconsin will now get to see the documentation Republicans fought so hard to keep from the public eye.
Elections matter. The hundreds of thousands of dollars we helped raise for Wisconsin Democrats made a difference. And our continued fundraising efforts will continue to make a difference as we push toward the November elections.