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The Latest: Kaul reviewing GOP confidentiality agreement

August 29, 2019

BEAVER DAM, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on lawsuit settlements (all times local):

5 p.m.

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul says he is reviewing a confidentiality agreement signed by an attorney hired by Republican lawmakers to resolve a stalemate over the state settling lawsuits.

Kaul had asked members of the Legislature’s budget committee to sign the agreements in order to discuss proceeding with lawsuit settlements. The lawmakers refused, and Kaul said settlement of a potential major case that faced a Friday deadline was in jeopardy.

Instead, the Republican co-chairs of the committee hired an attorney at $290 an hour without consulting Democrats. They say that should satisfy Kaul.

More than 15 lawsuits with millions of dollars at stake are at play, but Kaul says one undisclosed matter muse be resolved by Friday.

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2:55 p.m.

The Republican co-chairs of the Wisconsin Legislature’s budget committee say their attorney has agreed to sign a confidentiality agreement requested by Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul.

Kaul had asked members of the committee to sign the agreements in order to discuss proceeding with lawsuit settlements. The lawmakers refused, and Kaul said settlement of a potential major case that faced a Friday deadline was in jeopardy.

Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. John Nygren said in a statement Thursday that they have authorized an attorney to sign a confidentiality agreement. They say Kaul’s requiring a confidentiality agreement is “an obvious effort to undermine the law by delaying the committee’s work.”

But Nygren and Darling say the action should resolve Kaul’s concerns about moving ahead with settling lawsuits.

Kaul did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

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12:24 p.m.

Gov. Tony Evers says he doesn’t fault Republicans for not wanting to sign confidentiality agreements as requested by fellow Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul.

But Evers also said Thursday that Republicans who stand in the way of Kaul settling lawsuits on behalf of the state need to figure out a resolution so Wisconsin does not lose millions of dollars in settlement money.

Kaul and the Legislature’s Republican-controlled budget committee couldn’t agree Tuesday on a path forward to settle the lawsuits. Republicans rejected Kaul’s request that they sign confidentiality agreements. A law passed by Republicans in a lame-duck legislative session gives the budget committee power to approve settlements.

Evers says he hopes the Legislature repeals that law. But in the meantime he says “we need to have adults come to the table and figure it out.”

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