What, you thought the crooks in the Wisconsin GOP would actually learn a lesson from that open records debacle over the 4th of July weekend, did you? What a silly thought.,
Less than three weeks after being forced to retreat from scaling back Wisconsin's open records law, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos put his aides back to work on elements of the controversial proposal, new documents show.
Records released Tuesday showed that an aide to Vos requested a new legislative draft on July 23, seeking a bill to give the Legislature and individual lawmakers a different status on open records from other government bodies and officials in Wisconsin. The documents were made public by the liberal Center on Media and Democracy in Madison, which acquired them under the open records law....
Under the proposal, lawmakers would make their own emails, memos and other documents subject to legislative rules, rather than the open records law. As such, they could rewrite their rules of proceeding to restrict which of their records would be publicly available.
That would allow either house to set its own rules limiting access to records without having to get the approval of the other house or the governor, as now required.
These people clearly have something (and someone) major to hide, and are so full of themselves and disrespectful of the public that they think they can pull something off on the public to get away with it.
The thanks for exposing this scheme goes out to the Madison-based Center for Media and Democracy, who filed the open records requests and connected the dots between the more recent moves by Robbin' Vos and the notorious 999 measure that was attempted to be jammed in the state budget bill (and immediately withdrawn after major outrage across the political spectrum during the holiday weekend).
As the CMD mentions, these moves were not something that Speaker Vos came up with on the spur of the moment, but were instead calculated maneuvers done in concert with Gov Scott Walker's office.
In addition, emails released by Speaker Vos’s office reveal that the strategy of hiding the changes and then springing them on the public at the last minute was carefully worked out at least six weeks in advance of introduction. On May 26, Vos’ staff says the plan to gut the open records law will be introduced on “the last day [of the budget process] under a [Rep. John] Nygren motion.”
Newly-obtained emails also provide further evidence of the Walker administration’s role in adding a broad “deliberative materials” exemption to the law. Shortly after a June 3 meeting with the Governor’s office, a Vos staffer sends an email to LRB and Legislative Counsel drafting attorneys: “Sorry for the rollercoaster ride, but I think all of the privilege language (ie – the “big” draft) is back on the table.”
Two weeks later, the drafting request for a “deliberative process exception”—which is also the subject of a lawsuit CMD has filed against the governor—was submitted via an email with the subject line “Governor's request.” A week later, an LRB drafting attorney suggests that the “deliberative materials” exception be removed from the proposal, unless it was “specifically asked for by the governor” – and the provision was left in.
The new emails also contain two drafts of misleading talking points, here and here, that were used to spin the public on the reasons for the changes to the law. On June 14, a Vos staffer asks the LRB to fact-check a one-page set of talking points arguing for closing LRB drafting files since these “are mostly used for ‘gotcha’ games between political foes,” but he frets, “there is a decent chance that the press will get a hold of this.” Then, after the proposal to gut the public records law provoked public outrage, Vos’ office created a second set of talking points on July 3 that are rife with factual inaccuracies and deceptive assertions.
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