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Wisconsin can’t afford to hire all these attorneys

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The state of Wisconsin employs lots of attorneys. There is a whole office filled with them. It is called the office of the Attorney General. It has nearly 700 employees, and a budget of more than $243 million. But increasingly, when the state legislature finds itself involved in lawsuits, it is choosing not to use the office of the Attorney General to litigate its case. That is costing taxpayers dearly. The latest example is a lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin against the Wisconsin Elections Commission. This comes after a state judge ruled against the commission and said it must deactivate the voter registrations of more than 200,000 people in Wisconsin who have moved but not re-registered at their new address. The League said in its lawsuit that those people should not be thrown off the voting rolls. Republican leaders of the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly want to hire their own attorney to represent them in the lawsuit, rather than using the services of Attorney General Josh Kaul, a democrat. Apparently they don’t think Kaul will represent their interests in the lawsuit because he is a democrat. We can’t afford to hire private attorneys when we are already paying attorneys to defend the state. Those private attorneys don’t work cheap. Taxpayers are already on the hook for more than $2 million in legal bills in the fight over redistricting. Let’s use the attorneys we already pay, regardless of whether they are a democrat or republican.

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