From Media Trackers – UW Prof. Fights Transparency, WI Records Law

April 11, 2014

by Nathan Schacht

An inadvertent mistake has revealed a conversation between the director of the far leftwing Center on Wisconsin Strategy at the University of Wisconsin Madison and a UW attorney about circumventing the intent of the state’s open records law. The conversation took place after Professor Joel Rogers hit “reply all” in an e-mail between a UW lawyer and several others responding to a Media Trackers’ records request.

The lawyer defended transparency.

On March 21st, Media Trackers began investigating a report created by COWS that was distributed and promoted by leftwing Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAP Action Fund). As part of the investigation into why a UW research center would be creating a document for an organization known to engage in political activity benefiting Democrats, Media Trackers submitted an open records request to Joel Rogers, director of COWS and a professor at UW-Madison. The request specifically asked for any contracts between COWS and CAP Action Fund to determine if COWS received compensation from the extensive policy report.

On April 8th, Media Trackers received a copy of the contract which was actually between the UW and a New York SEIU local. That is where things got interesting, as shortly after receipt of the contract, Media Trackers staff was apparently inadvertently included in a chain of emails between Rogers and UW legal counsel.

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