MADISON, Wis. (AP) -

Wisconsin taxpayers are on the hook for a $60,000 legal bill in a state open records dispute.

The conservative John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy sued Democratic Sen. John Erpenbach, claiming he violated the open records law by redacting thousands of emails he received during the 2011 fight over collective bargaining for public employees. The institute says it wants Erpenbach's uncensored emails that include the names of government employees who contacted him using their government email accounts.

Instead of letting the state Department of Justice defend him in the lawsuit, Erpenbach hired an outside law firm to represent him.

The Wisconsin State Journal says a Grant County judge plans to review the unedited emails to determine whether they should be turned over to the MacIver Institute.