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Jay Townley

Bill & Julie,

After reading your blog post and responding this morning I read The New York Times on-line and an editorial in today's issue titled: A Shabby Crusade in Wisconsin. It seems the Wisconsin Republican Party filed a freedom-of-information request with the UW demanding all of the E-mails contaning the words "Republican," "Scott Walker," "union," "rally," and other related terms from historian William Cronon, professor of history at the UW. Professor Cronon was asked last month, by The New York Times to write an Op-Ed article on the historical context of Governor Walker's effort to strip public-employee unions of bargaining rights. According to The NY Times editorial, Professor Cronan "posted on his blog several critical observations about the powerful network of conservatives working to undermine union rights and disenfranchise Democratic voters in many states."

The Wisconsin Republican Party refuses to say why it wants Professor Cronan's E-mail messages, but The NY Times thinks it is a clear attempt to punish a critic and make other academics think twice before using the freedom of the American university to conduct legitimate research. I think it is an attempt to bully and surpress the truth...but than what do I know, I am just a simple citizen. The New York Times concludes that this political fishing expedition through Professor Cronon's E-mail files makes "the Republican Party appear both vengeful and ridiculous."

It is bad enough that this modern-day inquisition is being carried out by the Wisconsin state Republican Party, but you also have to consider the former chairman of our state GOP is now the National GOP Committee chairman...and this tactic to silence academic research to get at the truth my just roll out on a national scale.

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