Within 24 hours, two of the most respected members of the Wisconsin State Legislature are found to have tried to get around the law, and state government in Wisconsin takes another hit for dishonesty and secrecy. How stupid is that?
First, a state appeals court ruled state Sen. John Erpenbach violated Wisconsin’s open records law by blacking out the names of citizens who contacted his office about Act 10. Erpenbach said he was trying to protect people who contacted him about an issue important to them. We understand. But those are public records. The public has a right to know who contacts an elected official. It’s the law.
Second, state Sen. Mike Ellis was caught on camera discussing setting up an illegal political action committee to orchestrate attacks on his democratic opponent. This is the same Sen. Ellis who distinguished himself as an advocate for campaign finance reform including co-sponsoring reform measures with…that’s right…Sen. Erpenbach.
That’s what makes these episodes so maddening. Both these guys know better.