MADISON, Wis. — Assembly Speaker Robin “Boss” Vos has given himself an unprecedented 14 person personal staff at a cost to taxpayers of well over $1 million a year. Now, after initially refusing to disclose the contract, media reports have uncovered a new, minimum $840,000 contract Vos has signed with a Chicago based law firm to provide him with legal services to defend Republicans in legal action brought over their rigging of state legislative district lines.
“Robin Vos is sparing no expense on his schemes to gain political power for himself,” said One Wisconsin Now Program Director Analiese Eicher. “That he’s sticking taxpayers with the tab makes it all the more outrageous and contemptible.”
As reported by the Wisconsin State Journal:
“A law firm hired by Republican state lawmakers to help defend them in a redistricting lawsuit can collect up to an $840,000 fee, but taxpayers could end up paying even more, according to a newly released contract …
On Tuesday, the contract with Chicago law firm Bartlit Beck was released. It states that if a trial happens after Sept. 1, the firm and Legislature will renegotiate what, if any, additional fees would be added.
Any appeal will be charged a separate fee, according to the contract. So will all of the firm’s out-of-pocket fees, such as copying, travel and hiring of consultants.”
The GOP rigging of legislative districts has helped Vos keep his grip on power. Despite Democrats sweeping every statewide office on the November 2018 ballot and Democrats garnering roughly 200,000 more votes than Republicans in Assembly races, Vos returned with a majority of the seats in the body.
After being outpolled at the ballot box, Vos and his Assembly Republican colleagues quickly sought to override the will of the people in a sore loser, lame duck legislative session that resulted in passage of a number of punitive measures, including an attempt to re-impose limits on early voting that were previously struck down as unconstitutional and discriminatory on the basis of race by a federal judge in 2016.
One Wisconsin Now’s partner organization, One Wisconsin Institute, prevailed in federal court again when trial Judge James Peterson agreed to enforce his earlier ruling thus preventing Vos and the GOP from re-imposing their limits on early voting going forward.
Eicher concluded, “Robin Vos is showing Wisconsin he doesn’t respect taxpayers, voters or open government. The choice for his fellow Republicans is to follow his lead in showing contempt for democracy or standing up for the people they’re supposed to represent by standing up to him.”