Supporters of Democrats making death threats against Republican legislators? Snooze.
Democratic protesters chasing down and cornering a Republican state Senator outside the State House? Snooze.
A Democratic blogger engaging in possible identity theft in order to embarrass the Governor? Snooze.
Democratic Senators fleeing to another state to prevent the duly elected Senate from voting, thereby nullifying the vote of the People? Snooze.
Democratic supporting police and other union chiefs sending shakedown letters to businesses demanding they come out against the Governor and legislature? Snooze.
Democratic supporters engaging in repeated acts of physical intimidation, including physically disrupting Republican recall efforts against Democrats? Snooze.
Democrats widely comparing the elected representatives and Governor to Hitler and Mubarak? Snooze.
Republicans lawfully using the state Open Records Law to obtain e-mails of a Democratic supporter who may have used the state e-mail system in connection with actions supporting Democrats in violation of state policy? OUTRAGE, HAVE YOU NO DECENCY SIR:
I actually agree that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. And in this case, it does seem that fishing through a Professor’s e-mails just because the law allows you to do it is bad form.
But so too is running away to another state to use the technicalities of the quorum rules to nullify the vote of millions of Wisconsin citizens. And so too is invoking the technicalities of the Open Meetings Law to claim inadequate notice to Democratic Senators who had fled the state and had announced they would not return anyway even with notice. And so too is exploiting the technical distinctions between police acting in an official capacity and police acting in a union capacity to abuse the power of the police for political purposes. And so too was the takeover of the State House, though technically legal.
You see, in a political battle there are plenty of legal technicalities which the parties use to gain advantage. Democrats have not hesitated to invoke such technicalities to their advantage, even though some of the results were atrocious.
So if the Professor did not follow state rules on use of the state e-mail system, and if Republicans exploit that legal technicality to obtain the e-mails under the Open Records Law, it’s hard to get very excited.
Correction: I originally used the term Freedom of Information Act, but in Wisconsin it is called the Open Records Law. I have corrected the text above. It is the same law under which tens of thousands of e-mails sent to the Govenor were obtained.
Update: Ann Althouse, who is subject to the same Wisconsin e-mail rules as the Professor at issue, notes that she avoids using state e-mail for political purposes:
With hindsight, it’s easy to see what a mistake it is to use your wisc email account for anything other than class email lists and responding to email that UW people sent to your wisc address. I’ve known for years and years that there is Open Records vulnerability here. I use gmail myself to keep my notes and personal interactions out of this potentially public realm.
Related: Loks like there may be another technicality which works to the advantage of Republicans, as the Legislative Reference Bureau, an non-partisan entity arguably not subject to the TRO, has published the budget repair bill this afternoon.