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You may remember that during the heated battle between Wisconsin’s Republican lawmakers and the union supporting protestors, Governor Scott Walker claimed that he was receiving more emails from people who supported his cause than those that were against it. Walker declared that the majority of emails received by his office supported his union busting measure. Guess what, Walker? Emails are public record.
The Associated Press analyzed the emails and it seems that Walker may have misspoken. For close to a week, according to the AP, the messages in Walker’s inbox were running roughly 2-1 against his plan. The AP analyzed more than 26,000 emails sent to Walker from the time he formally announced his plans until he first mentioned the emails in public – a span of seven days. The tide only changed in Walker’s favor shortly after the Senate Democrats fled the state. The overall results were pretty divided. Walker received about 55 percent in support and 44 percent against. In the weeks since, Walker has continued to receive tens of thousands of emails on the issue.
Walker made the email comments on February 17th while tens of thousands of protesters gathered inside the Capitol’s rotunda and the lawn outside. “The more than 8,000 emails we got today, the majority are telling us to stay firm, to stay strong, to stand with the taxpayers,” Walker said of the emails. “While the protesters have every right to be heard, I’m going to make sure the taxpayers of the state are heard and their voices are not drowned out by those circling the Capitol.” However, the AP found that several preceding days, the emails of support Walker had received were vastly outnumbered by those opposed to his plan. A week before when Walker formally outlined his budget repair bill, including the union busting measure, the emails sent to his office ran more than 5-1 against his plan.
The emails were obtained through a legal settlement with Walker’s office, a result of a lawsuit filed by the AP and a weekly newspaper in Madison. The news organizations sued after the governor’s office did not respond to requests for the emails under the state’s open records law.
“Thanks for the 10% pay cut,” wrote a Department of Corrections employee. “I can’t believe that I voted for you. Get bent.”
After state Republicans used a parliamentary procedure, they were able to pass the controversial bill without the Senate Democrats. However, Democrats have challenged it in court and a judge has issued a temporary restraining order on the law.