MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin taxpayers will pay for the Government Accountability Board’s failed attempt to intervene in a civil rights lawsuit that directly involves two of the agency’s actors — a lawsuit in which GAB could find itself a defendant.

The bill could max out at $25,000 to defend an agency that critics claim was intricately involved in an illegal investigation into conservative organizations, but the price tag could be more.

The question is, did the GAB have permission to do so? A state contract obtained by Wisconsin Reporter  through an open records request seems to cast some doubt.