Circuit Court Dismisses Open Records Case Against Senator Erpenbach

Published on: April 16, 2013

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Yesteray, the Grant County Circuit Court dismissed our open records case against State Senator Erpenbach.  While we are happy that the court previously rejected the Senator’s argument that the open records law cannot be enforced against legislators, we respectfully disagree that the public does not have a right to know which of its employees used taxpayer provided resources to engage in political activity. When employees, often in violation of specific workplace policies, use public computers to communicate with public officials on matters of public policy, the public is entitled to know – without regard to whether a politician or court believes that the conduct is “important enough” to be subject to disclosure.

This is just round one. We are confident that the public’s right to know will ultimately be vindicated.

While we prefer to speak in court, it has come to our attention that Senator Erpenbach released a statement repeatedly and erroneously referring to the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy as a “Republican front group.” The MacIver Institute has no connection with any political party.

Senator Erpenbach also criticizes MacIver for “causing” the state to incur $140,000.00 in outside legal fees. Senator Erpenbach should explain to the taxpayers why he used an expensive private law firm and did not rely on representation from lawyers at the Department of Justice, which would not have cost the taxpayers additional funds.

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