Tuesday begins a new year in Whitewater with cloudy skies and a high of twenty-five. Sunrise is 7:25 AM and sunset 4:32 PM, for 9h 06m 34s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 18.4% of its visible disk illuminated.
On this day in 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation takes effect.
Recommended for reading in full:
Patrick Marley reports Speaker Robin Vos won’t release $850,000 contract with law firm in Wisconsin gerrymandering case:
MADISON – Assembly Speaker Robin Vos won’t make public a legal contract that will cost taxpayers $850,000, despite a state law meant to ensure government records are widely available.
Advocates for open records say the Rochester Republican is in the wrong and must release a copy of the contract with the Chicago-based law firm Bartlit Beck.
Assembly Republicans recently retained the firm to help defend the state in a long-running lawsuit over legislative district lines they drew in 2011 that have helped them win elections. Taxpayers have already spent more than $2 million in legal fees to draw and defend those maps.
“They should just release the record. I mean, it’s clearly a public record and it should be automatic,” said Orville Seymer, field operations director of the conservative Citizens for Responsible Government and a member of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council’s board.
“I think the denial of this contract is clearly illegal and clearly in bad faith,” said Bill Lueders, editor of The Progressive magazine and president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council.
Later in the story, Marley quotes Rick Esenberg, president of the conservative Wisconsin Institute of Law & Liberty, as saying “They have got a lot of law on their side,” Esenberg said of the stance Vos’ team has taken.” Oh, brother – they only have ‘a lot of law’ on their side if one assumes that an entire contract with a public body, itself, constitutes an attorney-client writing. It most certainly does not, as Esenberg surely knows.
April Barker, a Brookfield attorney and a vice president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, said it is unusual for legal contracts to include information that is subject to attorney-client privilege. Lawyers are careful in how they write them because they know that such contracts must sometimes be released as part of litigation, she said.
If the contract does include any privileged information, Vos should black out those portions of the contract and release the remainder of it, she said.
“I can’t see any legitimate basis for withholding the entire document,” she said.
Jennifer Rubin observes Trump’s agenda is dependent on provable falsehoods:
Trump’s lies are not inconsequential. They are a necessary foundation for his political survival (in an investigation that has indicted more than 30 people, he still screams “Witch hunt!”) and for an agenda that is based on ignorance and deception. And because of the centrality of lying to his survival and agenda, Republicans who continue to support him increasingly must live alongside him in his alternative universe.