MADISON, Wis. — According to court filings from his taxpayer funded lawyer, the Secrecy Speaker, Assembly Representative Robin Vos, won’t talk in connection with a lawsuit filed over his and state Republicans’ rigging of state legislative district lines. Media reports indicate that Vos believes he is above the law and through his attorneys refused, “… to accept a subpoena, turn over documents and agree to have him sit for a deposition because they maintain he is immune from civil legal actions.”
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Analiese Eicher commented, “Robin Vos and his fellow Republicans rigged the rules to give themselves an unfair advantage in elections. Now that he’s being called to account for it he’s arguing he’s above the law and doesn’t have to answer questions. It’s an appalling display of arrogance.”
The secrecy surrounding Vos’ redistricting shenanigans is longstanding. When Republicans were developing their maps in secret, legislators were required to sign gag orders promising not to speak publicly about the proceedings. Additional documents that came to light as part of a federal lawsuit suggested that Vos intended to mislead the public about what he was up to. A Vos talking point memo indicates he would be telling GOP legislators in his meetings with them that, “Public comments on this map may be different than what you hear in this room. Ignore the public comments.”
The November 2018 elections for State Assembly are a dramatic demonstration of how the rigging of legislative district lines works to the advantage of Vos and his fellow Republicans. Despite Democrats winning 54 percent of the total votes in races for the State Assembly, Republican Vos leads a state Assembly in which his party holds 63 of the 99 seats.
A new national analysis of 2018 election results by the Associated Press reveals Republicans, including those in Wisconsin, “benefited from a built-in advantage … based on how political districts were drawn, that prevented deeper losses or helped them hold on to power, according to a mathematical analysis by The Associated Press.”
Vos has also shown his predilection for secrecy in his personal life. As reported by the media, based on court documents, Vos imposed a gag order in his separation and divorce agreements with his second wife banning her, “from speaking with anyone about their marriage or the grounds for the divorce. The separation agreement, made in 2012 as Vos was preparing to run for speaker, prohibited her from changing her marital status on Facebook until after the election.”
Eicher noted that adding to the outrage over Vos arguing he is above the law and doesn’t have to answer questions or disclose documents associated with his activities as a public official is that Wisconsin taxpayers are getting stuck with the tab for his lawyers.