The Assembly’s top Democrat is blasting Republicans for acting in secret, in drafting new maps for voting districts in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Republican legislators were made to vow secrecy over redistricting. Minority Leader Peter Barca of Kenosha says the revelations are scandalous. “Clearly, they were flagrantly misleading the public, it a minimum,” says Barca. “That part’s very unseemly, of course. But the part that is equally striking is that they were told to ignore public comments that were made by their leaders, that wouldn’t necessarily resemble what was actually happening.”
AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (1:10)
Documents show GOP lawmakers signed confidentiality agreements, under which they pledged not to publicly discuss the maps while they were being drawn up by a law firm hired by the Republicans. Barca notes Democrats had suggested that no outside law firms be hired for redistricting. “Now it’s so clear, why it would have been important to do that,” says Barca, adding that Wisconsin’s tradition of open and transparent government is “in tatters right now.”
The confidentiality agreements with 75 GOP lawmakers were turned over by an attorney with the firm of Michael Best & Friedrich in response to a federal court order on request from the immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera.