Despite Governor Tony Evers’ reassurance that his staff has only once recorded conversations with Republican legislative leaders, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is accusing the administration of making other secret recordings.
“There is no way that a single time, and that’s the only time they release it to the media is the only time they’ve been recorded. I find that absolutely impossible to believe,” Vos told WTMJ’s Steve Scaffidi about the recording made during a meeting between Evers, Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald last month.
“If he says that, it’s just a lie.”
Governor Evers’ legal counsel said Thursday that a staffer on the call consented to the recording. Legal counsel did not specify which staff member consented, or whether that staff member was with the Governor or with Republican legislative leadership.
The Governor also emphasized that the practice of recording such conversations “ended with this one time.”
“I did not know about it. A staffer wanted help in taking notes. That’s why that staffer did that.”
Governor’s spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff’s statement is also shared in full below:
“This conversation was supposed to be about a potential path forward on a statewide approach to the COVID-19 crisis in our state following the Republican lawsuit to overturn the Safer At Home order. The goal was for both sides to come to the table with ideas on what should be included in a rule that would be amenable to Republicans in the legislature, and our staff wanted to ensure that any rule we drafted would accurately reflect this conversation.
“The recording was intended for internal use only to inform detailed note taking and planning next steps. This was not intended for release to the media or anyone else, however, we were obligated to comply with the open records law to release these records once they were requested.
“The governor wasn’t aware that the conversation was recorded. He has since directed our staff that this will not happen again.”
“The very idea to say the Governor didn’t know about it, I don’t believe that, that this is the first time and only time they’ve done that, I don’t believe that,” said Vos.
“The very concept that you are going to record that conversation. and use it for some political reason afterward, it is just disgusting.”
Evers has told his staff not to make any more recordings. But Vos is asking for the staff member to be removed from their job.
“(That staff member) needs to be fired. Whoever had this recording needs to be taken out of the office,” said Vos.
“There is just one more thing after another…where Governor Evers is not in control.”
Fitzgerald also said Thursday that the staff member who recorded it should be fired. Democratic Rep. Jonathon Brostoff also said the person should be dismissed. The staff member has not been named.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.