Groups file lawsuit over lawmakers' emails

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Two government watchdog groups have filed a lawsuit against five Republican lawmakers over access to their personal email accounts.

Common Cause and the Center for Media and Democracy filed the lawsuit Monday in Dane County Circuit Court.

It alleges the lawmakers violated Wisconsin's open records law by declining to say whether they searched their personal email accounts for contacts with the conservative group the American Legislative Exchange Council.

The lawsuit is against Reps. Tyler August, Dan Knodl, Tom Larson, Pat Strachota and Jeremy Thiesfeldt.

The lawmakers told the groups they searched their official state accounts and turned over any emails they found there.

Strachota tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the lawsuit is a "political witch hunt."
Statement from Rep. Tom Larson (R-Colfax):

"I believe in open government and transparency and that everyone should have the right to request public records. According to the Assembly Chief Clerk, I have fully complied and provided everything requested.

While it's not surprising that in October of an election year that this liberal organization would choose to engage in this kind of a dirty political stunt, I am very disappointed with their strategy."

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