MADISON (WKOW) -- Personal email records received by 27 News from the office of Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) show a high level of coordination between senior members of the administration and a number of Republican lobbying groups during the battle over collective bargaining rights for state workers in 2011.
One such email suggests a lobbyist may have had the original idea for separating collective bargaining restrictions out of the 2011 budget repair bill and into a separate piece of legislation.
On February 22, 2011, GOP lobbyist Bill McCoshen sent an email to someone identified only as "Jimmy", which lays out a plan for how the Walker administration and legislators can deal with the problems caused by the of 14 Democratic senators who had left the state just days earlier.
In that that email, McCoshen includes a memo that lays out "the plan." Part of that plan includes a bullet point that reads: "Move collective bargaining into a separate special session bill."
The State Senate ultimately did exactly that on March 9, 2011.
The email address for "Jimmy" was redacted by the Walker administration, which redacted only the personal email addresses of state officials and state employees in the 980 pages of emails they turned over to 27 News as the result of a public records request.
McCoshen told 27 News Friday that "Jimmy" was not a state official or employee and couldn't say why his email address would have been redacted if he wasn't. The personal email addresses of private individuals are not redacted in the records. McCoshen said he wasn't sure why that particular email would be in a public file at all.
Laurel Patrick, press secretary for Gov. Walker, would not say who the email was sent to - only claiming it was not sent to anyone in the Walker administration until after Act 10 was already passed.
The emails show even more coordination after Dane County Judge Mary Ann Sumi struck down Act 10 in May of 2011.
Someone in the Walker administration sent out an email to 20 different Republican lobbyists looking for help.
"Gentleman, I believe Judge Sumi's decision today leaves the general public with the impression that the changes to collective bargaining are dead,' reads the email. "Should the bill be passed again?"
As one of those consulted, McCoshen advised the administration to take a step back.
"Delay the collective bargaining changes until the recalls are over," wrote McCoshen, who advised making a deal that had been proposed by then-Senator Tim Cullen (D-Janesville) months earlier. "Maybe even hold some listening sessions so it give the appearance the administration is reaching out."
But most suggested staying the course and not giving in on the fight to have the law upheld as is.
"Do not concede that Sumi is right, but announce that while the legal battle WILL continue, the cost of waiting is too high," wrote Brian Fraley, who then worked for the MacIver Institute.
"We'll get through this. We've seen this movie before and it stinks worse than Bob Jauch after walking up a flight of stairs. But life goes on," wrote Fraley, making a reference to the former Democratic senator from far northern Wisconsin.
Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann will have much more on this story on 27 News at 6.
Read more on our investigation here.