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Records lawsuit cost taxpayers $26,500 in legal bills.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Assembly Republicans’ refusal to hand over records in an electronic format has cost taxpayers $26,500 in legal bills.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that 81-year-old Sheila Plotkin of Madison asked legislators last year for correspondence regarding lame-duck laws limiting Gov. Tony Evers’ powers.

Most complied with her request for electronic copies but 14 Assembly Republicans, including Speaker Robin Vos, asked her to pay $1,200 for about 8,000 pages.

They offered to let her review the records free of charge but Plotkin said health reasons prevented her from traveling to the office they suggested for the review.

She sued in April. Republicans settled, agreeing to release electronic copies and pay her attorneys $5,000. Taxpayers covered that expense as well as $21,500 for the Republicans’ private attorneys after they chose not to use lawyers from the state Justice Department.