Common Cause, Center for Media and Democracy reach settlement with 5 GOP lawmakers who skirted open records laws

Exactly one month ago, I wrote about a lawsuit filed against five Republican lawmakers here in Wisconsinby the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) and Common Cause (CC). In their lawsuit, the Center for Media and Democracy and Common Cause alleged the five Republican lawmakers in question failed to provide ALEC-related records sought under Wisconsin’s Open Records Law. At the time, the five Republicans in question – State Representatives Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), Tyler August (R-Lake Geneva), Dan Knodl (R-Germantown), Tom Larson (R-Colfax), and Pat Strachota (R-West Bend) – denied the existance of any ALEC-related records held on their private email accounts in an attempt to avoid open records laws.

On Tuesday the Center for Media and Democracy and Common Cause announced a settlement to their lawsuit against the five Republican lawmakers, with those lawmakers agreeing to turn over email records relating to ALEC that they held on their private email accounts in an attempt to skirt open records laws.

“As part of the settlement agreement, the five legislators admitted that ALEC-related records were held on their personal email accounts and are covered by the Open Records Law,” said Center for Media and Democracy Staff Counsel Brendan Fischer, who filed the complaint. “They are finally complying with the law and agreeing to release those records to the public.”

The five legislators — Representatives Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), Tyler August (R-Lake Geneva), Dan Knodl (R-Germantown), Tom Larson (R-Colfax), and Pat Strachota (R-West Bend) — also acknowledged they have a duty as elected officials to fully comply with records requests from the public. They will pay $2,520 in court costs and attorney’s fees involved in bringing the lawsuit.

The settlement of the suit brought against the five Republican lawmakers is certainly a victory for anyone who values open, transparent government, but I hope it’s just the first of many attempts to open our halls of government and shine some much-needed light on what Republican lawmakers have been up to in Madison and why they’ve been trying so hard to hide what they’re up to.

RwP: Panel Discussion Part 2 “Voter Suppression”

Part 2 of Rants Without Pants panel discussion where we debate “Voter
Suppression”. I call this segment “The Stacy Harbaugh Show” because
Stacy from the ACLU of WI kicks butt in this segment.

The panel consists of Stacy Harbaugh (Communications Director for the
American Civil Liberties Union of WI), Dusty Weis (Former CBS Reporter
for WTDY and WIOD), BJ Buss (Compassionate Conservative) and Michael
Grover Bartnik (Non-Ideological Guy in Hat). There will be 4 Parts.

Next topic, “Media Coverage” (Part 3), will be posted in a few days.

For more videos, please visit www.shabhead.blogspot.com.

VIDEO: Tommy Thompson blames his wife for his decision to work as a lobbyist

With the exception of a recently released TV ad, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson hasn’t really mentioned his wife Sue Ann on the campaign trail.

However, ask Tommy why he took a job as a lobbyist after his time in government was over and he’ll give you an honest answer – it’s all his wife’s doing. As Tommy explains in the video below, he cashed in his government connections to become a Washington, D.C. lobbyist because his wife Sue Ann wanted to do more shopping.

Not only is there a healthy dose of chauvinism in Tommy Thompson’s “circa 1950” comments about him only going to work as a Washington, D.C. lobbyist in order to satiate his wife’s shopping habits, but his comments reek of someone who wants to cast blame on his wife for decisions he made – decisions that are now coming back to impede his personal political ambitions. Instead of blaming his wife for his decision to work as a lobbyist and make millions of dollars, Tommy Thompson should just take some personal responsibility and admit he saw an opportunity to cash in on his career in public service and took that opportunity.