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State Senator Jon Erpenbach won't challenge order to reveal names in Act 10 emails

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - We'll soon find out who wrote to a state Senate Democrat to complain about the Act 10 public union bargaining limits back in 2011.

Middleton Senator Jon Erpenbach has decided not to challenge an appellate court ruling which ordered him to give out the names of 26,000 people who e-mailed his office.

Lawmakers were swamped by public comments during the heavy protests both before and after the GOP's union bargaining clampdown was approved.

The conservative MacIver Institute asked for the e-mails, saying they wanted to know if public employees were using taxpayer time and resources to oppose their cutbacks. Erpenbach released the e-mails, but with the names blacked out to keep them from being harassed.

A Grant County judge allowed Erpenbach to do that, but the Second District Appellate Court in Waukesha overturned it. That three-judge panel said the public needs to know who's trying to influence public policy in order to have "effective oversight" of the government.

Erpenbach hired his own law firm after he got into a strategy disagreement with the Justice Department.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said it cost taxpayers $171,000. The appellate court also ordered the state to pay the MacIver Foundation's attorney, for another $59,000.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)