Sunday, February 12, 2012

Republican Intimidation, Secrecy and Lies

Last week, we learned through a court order that the Republicans signed confidentiality agreements and were told to ignore the public comments of their fellow Republicans while gerrymandering Wisconsin. The memo read, "Public comments on this map may be different than what you hear in this room. Ignore the public comments." Republicans kept this secret all while doing the work of Wisconsin at a private law firm, and then later fought tooth-and-nail in court to keep this stuff secret.

Today, PolitiScoop has an article regarding an anonymous Republican NDA-signer who says they were threatened into signing the NDA. Zak Schultz from Wisconsin Public Television has the scoop in this video from WPT's Here and Now on Friday.
"According to one lawmaker who asked not to be named, the logic they were given was the maps and the documents would be protected by attorney-client privilege, and the secrecy pledges were needed to protect that. But this lawmaker told me he felt part of the pledge was intimidation, to keep the rank and file from complaining. He was even shown two versions of the map, one more favorable and one less favorable, and was told if he didn’t go along, the less favorable version would become law."
The WPT Here and Now clip has lots more background information, including an interview with UW-Madison Professor Barry Burden.

Last year, Republicans rudely denied any plans to draw new maps in secret.
'“You talked to Democrats who ‘think’ that Republican leaders have these grand plots,” Andrew Welhouse, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, says in an email response to questions about GOP plans. “I guess I’ll leave it up to your journalistic standards if their motivated speculation is worth reporting on.”'
Now they have.

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