A lawsuit seeks to force some Republican lawmakers to provide e-mails from their personal accounts, on allegations that they violated state open records laws when they used those personal accounts to e-mail ALEC – the American Legislative Exchange Council. Brendan Fischer of the Madison-based Center for Media & Democracy said open records requests were not fully complied with. “Some legislators had no records, and when we went back to them and said “can you please confirm that you did in fact search any personal e-mail accounts used for personal government business,” they gave evasive answers.”
Fischer, whose group filed the suit in Dane County along with Common Cause in Wisconsin, said lawmakers can’t evade the state’s “sunshine” laws by using their personal e-mail accounts. “We’re not seeking e-mails from the legislator to his wife about picking up a gallon of milk on the way home.” he said. “ALEC has had a profound impact on Wisconsin politics.” They estimate some 32 bills or budget provisions in the last legislative session were based on model legislation from ALEC, a nationwide organization whose membership is made up primarily of Republican lawmakers. The suit asks a judge to order that the e-mails be made available.