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Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald denies secretive redistricting plan


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald denied Tuesday that he and his Republican colleagues were given specific things to say about redistricting – and were told to ignore the public’s comments about it.

As part of a federal court order, documents were released this week about the secret process by majority Republicans in drafting new state legislative and congressional districts.

And a memo from an aide to Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald said, “Public comments on this map may be different than what you hear in this room – Ignore the public comments.”

Fitzgerald told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that neither he nor any other Republican senators saw the document and, “It wasn’t put together for me.”

The Assembly speaker’s office has not explained the memo. 

Other documents showed that virtually all Republican legislators signed forms from their lawyers in which they agreed not to discuss the redistricting process in public while it was taking place – and those who do speak up were warned that they might be forced to testify in court.

Lawsuits against the GOP’s redistricting plan are pending. Scott Fitzgerald said the agreements were used because redistricting is a unique legislative function.

But Assembly Democratic leader Peter Barca said he’s never seen lawmakers of either party sign confidentiality agreements before.

He called it “scandalous,” and said it runs against the traditions of Wisconsin’s open government.