Wisconsin GOP and DC henchman and errand boys FOIA private citizen for emails

It’s particularly disgusting how the Wisconsin Republican Party, full of theocratic autocrats hellbent on sucking up to the Koch Brothers and attempting to trash the ability of workers to be able to negotiate, are overstepping like zombies with trying to attack a University of Wisconsin professor and attempt to try to get private emails through the Freedom of Information Act to make some kind of point.

Actually the point is to try to attack those who dare make their opinion known that those who cross the college dropout Scott Walker’s path will have to deal with some out-of-state Republican interest group to do the handiwork:

The request was made by Stephan Thompson of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. In his request, Thompson asked for e-mails of Cronon’s state e-mail account that “reference any of the following terms: Republican, Scott Walker, recall, collective bargaining, AFSCME, WEAC, rally, union, Alberta Darling, Randy Hopper, Dan Kapanke, Rob Cowles, Scott Fitzgerald, Sheila Harsdorf, Luther Olsen, Glenn Grothman, Mary Lazich, Jeff Fitzgerald, Marty Beil, or Mary Bell.”

Most of the names are Republican legislators. Marty Beil is the head of the Wisconsin State Employees Union and Mary Bell is the head of the Wisconsin Education Association Council.

Cronon said the university had not yet complied with the open records request. The e-mails would be subject to the state’s open records law because they were written on an university e-mail account.

The university has an e-mail policy that states, “University employees may not use these resources to support the nomination of any person for political office or to influence a vote in any election or referendum.”

Cronon said he did not violate the policy in any way. “I really object in principle to this inquiry,” Cronon said of the party’s open records request.

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Cronon had written about how the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in his blog saying “Wisconsin Republicans are able to hold secret meetings with ALEC to plan their legislative strategies”. What is not a surprise is how American Legislative Exchange Council gets lots of funding dollars from right-wing organizations, including the Koch Brothers.

Professor William J. Cronon, president-elect of the American Historical Association, wrote in his blog after the Republican Party went after him:

Last week was quite a roller coaster for me. I spent the weekend of March 12-13 drafting an op-ed for the New York Times (published on March 22, and available at this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/22/opinion/22cronon.html) about the several ways in which I believe that Scott Walker and the current leadership of the Republican Party in Wisconsin have departed not just from the longstanding culture of civility and good government in this state, but in fact from important traditions of their own party. In the course of writing that op-ed, I did some research trying to figure out where the current wave of conservative legislation in Wisconsin and elsewhere might be coming from.

As a result, last Tuesday night, March 15, I launched my first-ever entry for a blog I had long been planning on the theme of “Scholar as Citizen,” about how thoughtful scholarship can contribute to better understandings of issues and debates in the public realm. In my first blog entry, I published a study guide exploring the question “Who’s Really Behind Recent Republican Legislation in Wisconsin and Elsewhere?” I by no means had all the answers to this question, but I thought I had found enough useful leads that it was worth sharing them to help others investigate the American Legislative Exchange Council further. So I posted the link for the blog on Facebook and Twitter, sat back, and hoped that viral communication would bring the blog to people who might find it useful.

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