(The Badger Project) -- If the city of Oshkosh’s streets superintendent gets an email from a citizen complaining about an uneven sidewalk in front of his house, by law that public employee has to hold onto that record should anyone want to see it.

But if a state legislator gets an email from a lobbyist asking for political favors in exchange for money, it’s perfectly legal for the legislator to delete that digital document, and thus the evidence.

That’s a comparison Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, likes to make to explain how state legislators in Wisconsin have shielded themselves from the state’s Open Records Law, throwing a potential dark cloak over the public work they are elected to do.

In Wisconsin, public officials generally must retain all public records, which includes emails. But state legislators have no legal obligation to do so.

Read the full story from The Badger Project.


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