MacIver Institute Obtains Emails Requested in Erpenbach Open Records Request

July 28, 2014

[Madison, Wisc…] The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy recently picked up copies of thousands of emails that were requested from Sen. Jon Erpenbach’s (D-Middleton) office in the wake of Act 10.

MacIver asked for all emails to Erpenbach’s office relating to Act 10 in an open records request during the massive protests three years ago. When his office refused, MacIver narrowed the request to only include emails from public employees.

Erpenbach turned over thousands of emails after the second request, but his office had redacted any identifying information from every single email. The MacIver Institute argued that the information was not confidential and filed a lawsuit against Erpenbach with the help of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.

The Wisconsin District Two Court of Appeals agreed with MacIver in a decision released in April 2014, overturning a previous decision by a lower court. The court ordered Erpenbach to turn over all the emails requested by the MacIver Institute.

“I am very pleased the court agreed with MacIver that we cannot have politicians deciding arbitrarily what the Open Records law applies to and what public documents should be shielded from the public’s view,” MacIver Institute President Brett Healy said. “It is disappointing that Sen. Erpenbach wasted over $200,000 of taxpayer’s money in his attempt to keep the public in the dark, but hopefully now MacIver can shed some light on what exactly happened.”

Now that MacIver has received unredacted copies of the thousands of emails, staff will begin going through each document to determine how many public employees were using public resources to campaign against Act 10 on the taxpayers’ dime.

The MacIver Institute will provide updates as soon as possible. Please check back often to see the status of this investigation.