DOJ employees asked to sign NDA on day of tell-all book release

MADISON – Employees in the Wisconsin Department of Justice were instructed last month to sign a nondisclosure agreement on the same day as the release of a tell-all book about the Gov. Scott Walker administration.

Daniel Bice, political watchdog columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, reports DOJ staffers on Aug. 10 were sent an email instructing them to sign the agreement. The email also included a spreadsheet of 129 names of employees who had not yet signed.

On the same day, former Corrections Secretary Ed Wall released his book “Unethical: Life in Scott Walker’s Cabinet and the Dirty Side of Politics,” which is critical of how Walker and Attorney General Brad Schimel handled problems at Lincoln Hills School for Boys, the troubled juvenile prison north of Wausau.

DOJ said the practice of having employees sign NDAs predates Schimel, who was elected in 2014. But Wall said he was never asked to sign an NDA under four attorneys general, two of which were Democrats (former Gov. Jim Doyle and Peg Lautenschlager) and two Republicans (J.B. Van Hollen and Schimel).

Wall told the (Madison) Wisconsin State Journal that he believed the move could be related to his book and was likely meant to intimidate other current and former DOJ employees. Critics say it could keep state workers from coming forward with information that should be public.

» Read Bice’s column

» More from the State Journal