The leaders of the legislative Joint Finance Committee are crying foul over a request for confidentiality agreements from Attorney General Josh Kaul.
AG Kaul requested a closed session meeting with the JFC on Tuesday over a private legal matter, which turned out to be a possible settlement the state is involved in. But Kaul wouldn’t tell legislators what it was until they signed a confidentiality agreement.
One of the lame duck laws passed last year requires the Department of Justice to consult with Joint Finance about settlements and funds that may be collected. Republicans recently filed a lawsuit at the State Supreme Court challenging how Kaul was actually conforming to the law.
Co-chairs Alberta Darling and John Nygren say that Kaul is now “actively undermining” state law, and that anything said in closed session would remain confidential.
Nygren grilled Kaul about why he needed to get N D As from the committee. “Had there been any attempt to go back and have conversations regarding that settlement and modify that settlement so that it actually fit the parameters of the law that was legally passed by this body?”
Kaul said that wasn’t the case. “If your question is whether we asked for a Wisconsin specific exemption to the agreement so we could be treated differently from every other state, the answer is no.”
Democrat Representative Chris Taylor says the conflict just shows why the law is cumbersome.
“If you want to settle cases, go to law school and run for attorney general. That is not our role, it never has been our role.”
Kaul says these sorts of confidentiality agreements are common in lawsuits, and that his office needs to act by Friday.
So far, this appears to be a stalemate.