Heard in Wisconsin: ‘Ignore the public comments’

From the March 2011 protests in Wisconsin.
From the March 2011 protests in Wisconsin.

Since the 2010 elections, new Republican majorities in the states have been using government to weaken the Democratic electorate. That’s why so many states have been going after unions, which tend to vote Democratic and fund Democratic campaigns. That’s why so many states have been making it harder for students, the poor and the elderly to vote, because those groups tend to vote Democratic.

In Wisconsin today, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that Republican lawmakers committed $400,000 in public money to a redistricting process that they kept secret along the way and that they used to bolster incumbent Republicans.

As legislative leaders secretly developed new election maps last year to strengthen their majority, Republican lawmakers were told to ignore public comments and instead focus on what was said in private strategy sessions, according to a GOP memo that became public Monday.

Other newly released documents also show almost all Republican lawmakers signed legal agreements promising not to discuss the new maps while they were being developed.

One memo for Republican lawmakers instructed them: “Public comments on this map may be different than what you hear in this room. Ignore the public comments.” 

Money for the redistricting work went to a private law firm that required lawmakers to sign a pledge of secrecy. In the end, the maps delivered more Republican voters for 33 of the 58 sitting Assembly Republicans. An immigrants’ rights group, Voces de la Frontera, has filed a complaint alleging that lawmakers violated Wisconsin’s open meetings law by taking the work underground.

(Image: @_kristy_/Flickr)


Heard in Wisconsin: 'Ignore the public comments'