Sen. Darling, Rep. Nygren: Finance co-chairs react to AG Kaul’s move to force legislators into confidentiality agreements

Contact: Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), 1-608-266-5830
Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette), 1-608-266-2343

(Madison, WI) – Attorney General Josh Kaul is refusing to brief members of the Legislature on a potential legal settlement unless they sign confidentiality agreements. Finance Committee Co-Chairs Nygren and Darling issued the following statement reacting to Kaul’s move.

“Attorney General Josh Kaul has gone from refusing to follow state law to now actively undermining it. It is unnecessary to require legislators to sign a confidentiality agreement when they have agreed to keep information confidential in closed session.

“The Attorney General requested that lawmakers meet in closed session today. We pulled together a meeting within two business days and tried to accommodate him – without even knowing the name of the case.

“The co-Chairs have told the Attorney General that information shared in closed sessions of legislative committees is confidential, which protects his ability to negotiate settlements while following the law. We recognize the sensitivity of these issues and wish to work with the Attorney General, but signing a confidentiality agreement is a nonstarter. The fault lies at the feet of Attorney General Kaul who is once again attempting to undermine the law.”

Last week, the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Finance sent the Attorney General a letter denying his request for a signed confidentiality agreement and outlined why closed session would address his stated concerns while maintaining transparency. The co-Chairs assured him that any confidential information disclosed in closed session would be kept in confidence. Read a copy of that letter here. (Link: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/13/fitzgerald/media/1399/final-doj-81919-letter.pdf)

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