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Walker’s Wisconsin FOIA – For Our Interests Only

Van Hollen flips, flops, in favor of fascism

On Wednesday, State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) filed a motion in Dane County Circuit Court arguing she is immune from lawsuit while she remains in office. The motion was filed on her behalf by Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s Department of Justice. That is to say that taxpayers cannot have access to the communications of the elected officials that represent them during the time they are working for the people they represent. It’s not surprising that she may feel that way, since Leah has always had control issues and her emails rival the speeches of Michele Bachmann in clarity and composition. I mean, who wouldn’t be embarrassed.

In one email, state Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, offered these thoughts about redrawing her district and when GOP legislators were working in secret with Michael Best & Friedrich law firm who were paid $431,000 in taxpayer money for its work:




“Western Wauwatosa — yes (more GOP),” “West Milwaukee — No (forgot to mention this part of current district — VERY Dem” and “Milwaukee — cop wards if needed.”

She also wrote in the May 4, 2011, message to Tad Ottman, an aide to then-Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau,






“This is such a big task. So glad we are in control.

Host Madison – Documents cast new light on redistricting process, reveal partisan motivations


The surprise comes with Attorney General Van Hollen’s acquiescence.

Van Hollen’s executive assistant, declined to comment on the specifics of the case but said the state constitution is clear on legislative immunity.

The state constitution says lawmakers are not “subject to any civil process during the session of the Legislature.” Vukmir contends in her motion that the current legislative session lasts the entire term of a state representative — meaning legislators could be in session from the moment they are first sworn in until they leave office, perhaps many years later.JS Online

What he doesn’t say was made clear by Susan Crawford, a Madison attorney who has served as an assistant attorney general and chief counsel to former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle: “She had never seen the Department of Justice raise such a defense. The immunity provision is in the constitution to protect the public from losing its voice in the Legislature because of legal proceedings, not to help legislators avoid complying with laws.” In other words the immunity is provided to prevent litigation from interfering with conduct of the people’s business, not to deprive the people from leaning the details of that business.

Van Hollen has defended the FOIA statutes in the past including a warning to County Clerks after the June 5 recall election:

Along with this Memorandum, please find an informal opinion from the Attorney General’s office which outlines the specific considerations regarding the application of the public records law to requests for claimed trade secret memory device records.

Ultimately, each county and municipality is subject to the application of Wisconsin’s public records laws and individually responsible for compliance therewith. Failure to comply with public records laws does expose the counties and municipalities to civil penalties and potential attorney’s fees. It is strongly recommended that you each obtain adequate legal counsel to appropriately comply with these public records requests, as well as maintain the chain of custody and integrity of the June 5, 2012 election materials Memo to clerks record requests

The secret Leah Vukmir Aria

The aria by GOP Sen. Leah Vukmir was taken loosely from the news reports regarding the undisclosed documents of the redistricting email chatter:

I was told it was to be the “show stopper”opea leah v a real democracy slasher

It is clear how this aria is an obvious steal of Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” and renamed the “Flight of Vukmir”, and even though the copy was apparent, the Vukmir version was every bit as haunting.

Leah appears on stage against a huge map projected on the scrim depicting a vote district in the shape of an elephant, while singing in a octave, twice her capability, the following lyric:

It is with pride
No trunk can hide
My heroic mission
A superior vision
Oh, oh Elephantidae
Oh say, Oh say, Oh Say
Can you see
It is Me, Me, Me!

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