Tuesday, February 7, 2012

VDLF Filed Complaint With Dane DA Claiming State GOP Legislators Kept Map Redistricting Process Secret

State Republicans kept redistricting process from public and other legislators.

By H. Nelson Goodson
February 7, 2012

Madison - On Monday, Voces de la Frontera (VDLF) announced, that it had filed a complaint with the Dane County District Attorney's Office claiming GOP legislators agreed on a pact to keep the redistricting mapping process a secret violating open meetings law and the state Constitition. VDLF says, it has documents from Republican legislators to prove that GOP members in office agreed as a pact to keep the redistricting secret and ignore any public comments aimed at influencing district border boundaries.
The GOP agreement extended to their legislative aids as well.
Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) confirmed that a contract between Republican legislators was needed to keep the state remapping district process from being compromised. Seventeen state senators signed agreements of secrecy and 58 state representatives as well, according to documents provided by VDLF.
VDLF claimed, the legislature held secret meetings, solicited unlawful agreements while mapping new voting districts. They violated the open meetings laws and disenfranchised state residents and other legislators from having input as allowed by the state's Constitution, according to VDLF.
The clandestine meetings were held by Tad Ottman, Senator Scott Fitzgerald's legislative aide, and Adam Foltz, Representative Jeff Fitzgerald's legislative aide, under the direction of Attorney Eric McLeod from the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich, LLC.
In addition, Foltz wrote talking points for the meetings expressly stating that the lawmakers should ignore the public justifications given for the redistricting, because they would be different than what was explained to each of them at these private meetings.
Peter Earle, Voces de la Frontera's lead attorney stated, "It's now clear why Scott and Jeff Fitzgerald tried so hard to keep these documents hidden under their bogus claim of 'attorney-client privilege.' We now have documents that prove that the Republican leadership of the legislature was paying hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to private attorneys with the express purpose of hiding the legislative redistricting process from the public and from those legislators who had not signed secrecy agreements. This amounts to a conspiracy to violate the prohibition of legislative secrecy contained in Article IV, § 10 of the Wisconsin Constitution. The conduct is repugnant to every principle of good government."
In November 2011, Attorney Earle and VDLF, including four other Hispanic plaintiffs filed a federal lawsuit claiming the Republican controlled legislature had passed a statewide redistricting plan, which cuts about 8 percent of Hispanic voting age citizens (HVAC) from the current 48 percent of HVAC in the Milwaukee south side district reducing it to a mere 40 percent. The plaintiffs want for the federal court to increase the HVAC in the 8th Assembly District to 52 percent making a Latino majority district in 2012. They also seek an injunction and to consolidate their lawsuit along with several other federal cases already filed by Democrats concerning redistricting.

VDLF complaint at link: http://bit.ly/xqiAyj

VDLF document attachments at link: http://bit.ly/ywJdwM

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