"Please send ALL ALEC material to the Representative's PERSONAL email . . . from now on," says a June email to ALEC sent from Jeremy Thiesfeldt's state account.
The good folks at CC and CMD did not give up though and took these five to court, and of course, easily won. Now the fact that these five "fiscal conservative" republican's tried to govern in private, it ended up costing the taxpayers of Wisconsin $2520 in court costs and fees. There are plenty of places that could use that money right now!
Five Wisconsin state legislators have agreed to turn over any correspondence and documents with or related to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and held on their personal email accounts; the action settles a lawsuit brought by the Center for Media and Democracy and Common Cause."This agreement should put to rest Rep. Pat Strachota’s ridiculous assertion to the press that the suit was a 'political witch hunt,' and ALEC’s absurd claim that seeking its communications with lawmakers was 'abusing' the open records law," said Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy, which publishes PRWatch.org and ALECexposed.org.
The Attorney General’s office will conduct the agreed-upon document search.
"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.
However I doubt it will put to rest Stachota's ridiculousness or ALEC's desire to remain secret. I also doubt it will mean that republicans will agree to open government in the future. Remember this is the group that signed "secrecy agreements" during the redistricting process!
For those of you who care about transparency, open government, not ceding responsibility to shadow organizations and wasting valuable taxpayer money should take a look at these legislators who stand for all of these things and their races!
1. Jeremy Thiesfeldt of the 52nd Assembly district. To change from the tea party extreme to join the ranks of the rest of Wisconsin, Paul Czisny will represent you! Check his website out here and his facebook page here!
2. Tyler August of the 32nd Assembly District. If you understand that to move WI Forward to the future and job creation, you do NOT cut $1.6 Billion from education, then support and vote for Kim Peterson! Her website is here and her facebook page is here!
3. Dan Knodl of the 24th Assembly District. If you are sick of wild partisan conspiracy theories and blatant dishonesty in advertising and want to be represented by a moderate intelligent skilled thoughtful representative, then Shan Haqqi is the one to vote for. Check out Shan's website here and his facebook page here!
4. Tom Larson of the 67th Assembly District. If you realize that the health care system in our country and state is broken and needs fixing and want someone with real world experience and ideas to do so, the support and vote for Deb Bieging! Her website is here and her facebook page is here!
5. Pat Strachota of the 58th Assembly District. Unfortunately, Strachota is running unopposed. If you want to know why the Wisconsin Democratic Party would allow an extremist who completely disregards open government like Strachota to run unopposed please contact the Wisconsin Democratic Party - firstname.lastname@example.org and (608) 255-5172
Let's show a message to all politicians and let them know that shadow private government behind closed doors and private email accounts is not something we will tolerate in WI!