BREAKING: GOP Legislature Held Secret Meetings, Solicited Unlawful Agreements While Mapping New Voting Districts

JOE SHANSKY (414) 218-3331

Voces de la Frontera attorneys discover violations of Open Meetings law, Wisconsin Constitution in efforts to hide state redistricting process

Attorneys for Voces de la Frontera have discovered that employees of Republican legislative leaders, working under the direction of an attorney paid by Wisconsin taxpayers, engaged in secret, unlawful activities in redesigning the state’s electoral maps in an effort to hide from the public their goal of consolidating partisan power.

A verified complaint was filed yesterday by Voces de la Frontera’s attorneys with the District Attorney for Dane County alleging violations of both Wisconsin’s Constitution and statutes governing open meetings.

The meetings were held by Tad Ottman, Senator Scott Fitzgerald’s legislative aide, and Adam Foltz, Representative Jeff Fitzgerald’s legislative aide, under the direction of Michael Best and Friedrich attorney Eric McLeod.

In addition, Adam Foltz wrote talking points for the meetings, expressly stating that the lawmakers should ignore the public justifications given for the redistricting, because they would be different than what was explained to each of them at these private meetings.

“Wisconsin citizens will not tolerate this culture of political corruption, and it will not go unchecked. The actions of McLeod, Ottman and Foltz are both legal and moral violations. They breach Wisconsin’s Open Meetings law and the state constitution’s prohibition on secret legislative activity, and undermine our long-standing commitment to open and transparent government, which is the cornerstone of a democracy,” stated Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera.

“This is one more example of a disturbing pattern of conspiratorial actions on the part of the Walker administration.”

Peter Earle, Voces de la Frontera’s lead attorney stated, “It’s now clear why Scott and Jeff Fitzgerald tried so hard to keep these documents hidden under their bogus claim of ‘attorney-client privilege.’ We now have documents that prove that the Republican leadership of the legislature was paying hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to private attorneys with the express purpose of hiding the legislative redistricting process from the public and from those legislators who had not signed secrecy agreements. This amounts to a conspiracy to violate the prohibition of legislative secrecy contained in Article IV, § 10 of the Wisconsin constitution. The conduct is repugnant to every principle of good government.”

“The only appropriate response to these serious breaches of the public trust is to throw the maps out and begin the process again in a legal and open manner,” Earle added.