Mike Browne, Deputy Director
‘Acting Like a Candidate With Something to Hide From Wisconsin Voters’
MADISON, Wis. — With less than a week before the election for state Supreme Court, right-wing candidate Brian Hagedorn continues to stonewall on calls for him to disclose what he said in paid speeches to a hate group and stall fulfilling an open records request, filed over one month ago for certain emails from his state office.
“Brian Hagedorn is acting like a candidate with something to hide from Wisconsin voters,” said One Wisconsin Now Research Director Joanna Beilman-Dulin. “He’s hiding what he said in speeches he personally profited from giving to a hate group and stalling turning over emails he sent from his state office while a judge.”
While a sitting judge, Hagedorn has personally profited from payments from a hate group for giving speeches at their conferences. According to financial disclosures he is required to file with the state, Hagedorn took over $3,000 in payments and gifts from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
ADF is deemed a hate group based on their advocacy for an extreme, anti-LGBTQ agenda that includes supporting criminalizing homosexuality, defending sterilization of transgender people, claiming a link between homosexuality and pedophilia and working for legislation and case law to allow LGBTQ people to be denied professional and other services.
In response to an open records request from One Wisconsin Now Hagedorn did not deny the existence of records of his remarks given at ADF conferences at locations like Cancun, Mexico. Instead he claimed the materials were not maintained in his public office and therefore could be kept hidden from the public.
Beilman-Dulin noted that Hagedorn is also stalling on a response to a simple, straightforward open records request filed with his state judicial office over one month ago. The request seeks emails containing a limited number of search terms over defined time span.
Hagedorn’s lack of transparency as a judge continues a pattern of behavior seen while he was a government lawyer, when he was at the center of some of the most notorious efforts to evade and gut Wisconsin’s open records law. In 2015, while legal counsel for the governor, Hagedorn was the attorney of record in a lawsuit brought over the denial of government records. His office was also implicated for involvement in the drafting of a last minute provision to gut the state open records law majority Republicans were forced to back away from after attempting to insert it in the 2015 state budget.