As fallout continues from Wisconsin Republicans’ failed attempt to gut the state’s government transparency laws, a GOP leader finally admitted Tuesday Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) office was involved in the proposal, which was dropped after passing a legislative committee.
“Sure. Yeah,” Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) said when reporters asked him whether the governor’s office was part of conversations about the proposal, as reported by The Capitol Times.
“Along the way we had talked to them about open records issues and the amount of requests the governor gets,” Fitzgerald said, according to WISC-TV. “The assembly obviously was involved as well.”
Facing a heavy backlash from conservatives and liberals alike, Walker, in a statement joined by the GOP’s legislative leaders, announced Saturday that Republicans were dropping the provisions, which were passed on a party-line vote in the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee as part of a larger budget package Thursday. Among other things, the proposal would have removed communications and other legislative records from under the scope of the state’s government transparency law, and would have allowed lawmakers to refuse to disclose certain documents in public record requests.
Since coming under scrutiny, Republican leaders have been reluctant to say who was behind the initial language, and Walker’s office has not responded to queries from TPM and other outlets as to whether the governor was involved.
Walker currently faces a lawsuit over his refusal to turn over documents in a public records request.