August among lawmakers sued for emails with ALEC
MADISON Two groups have filed a lawsuit against Rep. Tyler August of Lake Geneva and four other Republican lawmakers alleging they violated Wisconsin's open records law by not saying whether they searched their personal email accounts for correspondence they may have had with a conservative organization.
Common Cause and the Center for Media and Democracy filed the lawsuit Monday in Dane County Circuit Court. They contend that the lawmakers broke the open records law by not disclosing whether they searched their personal accounts for interactions with the American Legislative Exchange Council.
ALEC brings together corporate leaders and conservative lawmakers to draft model legislation that can be introduced in state legislatures. Critics argue that the arrangement allows the group to improperly influence state laws.
Besides August, the lawsuit is against Reps. Dan Knodl, of Germantown; Tom Larson, of Colfax; Pat Strachota, of West Bend; and Jeremy Thiesfeldt, of Fond du Lac.
The lawmakers told the groups they searched their official state accounts and turned over any emails they found there, but would not say whether they also searched their personal accounts.
Strachota told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the lawsuit is a "political witch hunt" and a waste of time. Strachota said she had never introduced legislation drafted by ALEC.