CMD Responds to Senator Vukmir's Claim about Open Records

CONTACT: Brendan Fischer,

The following is the Center for Media and Democracy's response to Senator Leah Vukmir's statement regarding CMD's public records case and her claim that she has "fully complied" with CMD's public records request. The following can be attributed to CMD General Counsel Brendan Fischer:

We do not believe that Senator Vukmir has complied with the public records law.

Christie Herrera text to Leah VukmirSenator Vukmir is ALEC's national treasurer. She attended ALEC's Oklahoma City meeting in May 2013 and sponsored an ALEC "model" bill that was adopted by ALEC politicians and corporate lobbyists as ALEC policy. Former ALEC Health & Human Services Task Force Director congratulated Senator Vukmir on the bill's passage with a text message: "Great job Madame Sponsor!"

Now, Senator Vukmir is asserting she does not have a single record relating to the bill, her position as a leader of ALEC, or the Oklahoma meeting, save for text messages and a few emails showing her attendance at the meeting.

When Senator Vukmir says she has provided all records "subject to this open records request," her claim must be viewed in light of the fact that ALEC has been stamping its bills and communications to legislators with a disclaimer asserting the documents are "not subject to" any state's public records law. We have no confidence she is complying with Wisconsin's public records laws versus abiding by ALEC's claim that materials it provides to lawmakers are not subject to any public records law. Additionally, it is not known whether Senator Vukmir withheld any materials distributed to her via an internet dropbox, which ALEC has admitted it uses to evade open records laws.

ALEC disclaimer

It is Senator Vukmir's claim that she has complied with our public records requests, and it is CMD's position that she has not. The proper place to resolve this is in court. If she has fully complied with our request, why is she taking the extraordinary and unprecedented step of asserting legislative immunity to block the case from proceeding?

What is she hiding that she won't allow this matter to be resolved on the merits?

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The author listed as "PRwatch Editors" is for reports attributable to CMD's editors or guest authors.