MADISON, Wis. — Over two weeks after One Wisconsin Now filed an open records request for all email and written communications between Koch Industries’ lead Wisconsin lobbyist and the office of Gov. Scott Walker and the Department of Administration, the Walker administration has yet to fulfill the request. One Wisconsin Now said it is considering legal action and notes the unusual speed at which Gov. Walker’s office released staff email communications this week it claimed were proof of the administration’s willingness to negotiate with Senate Democrats in the budget repair bill dispute.
“Gov. Scott Walker needs to learn there isn’t one set of open records laws for emails you want to release and another set of open records laws for emails you don’t want to release,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “Suing Gov. Walker to obtain these records is not what we want to do, but we are more than willing to take him to court if he refuses to promptly fulfill our reasonable and legal request.”
One Wisconsin Now would be the third organization in the last week to sue the Governor’s office over its open records request obstructionism. Both the Associated Press and the Madison-based Isthmus filed suit over the Walker administration’s attempt failure to fulfill an open records request asking for emails the Governor claimed he had received in support of his plan to use the government to take away the rights of working families by ending collective bargaining rights of public employees. Walker attempted to charge the media outlets $31,000 for the request.
Over a week ago, Walker’s office acknowledged it had received One Wisconsin Now’s open records request, which was sent electronically February 24. In the request One Wisconsin Now asked for written and email communications between Jeffrey Schoepke, Koch Industries’ lead Wisconsin-based lobbyist, and the Governor’s office and the office of the Secretary of the Department of Administration.
Koch Industries’ billionaire owners Charles and David Koch are the driving financial force behind Americans for Prosperity, the organization running hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in television ads to support Gov. Walker’s effort to use the government to take away the right of 175,000 Wisconsin workers. Gov. Walker has also included in his scheme a plan to allow private companies, like Koch Industries, to purchase the state’s public power plants – in a possible no-bid scheme.
KochPAC gave Gov. Walker’s gubernatorial campaign $43,000 and David Koch personally donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which spent $5 million to elect Gov. Walker. [Center on Media and Democracy, 2/18/11; Republican Governors Association Press Release]
Americans for Prosperity, which spent $70 million in 2009 and 2010 to advance Koch’s anti-working family agenda was founded through the donations of the brothers’ Koch Foundation.