Monday, December 7, 2015

Gov. Walker uses devious "tricks" to avoid open records laws

His willingness and eagerness to avoid providing open records demonstrates his cowardice and incompetence as a leader

The lengths that Gov. Scott Walker’s administration, and Republicans in general, have gone to restrict access to open records is disgraceful, especially in a state like Wisconsin which has traditionally prided itself on being open to public scrutiny.

Previously legislative Republicans had tried to obliterate open records laws that would have allowed lawmakers the ability to hide how bills were drafted.

Walker and his administration initially denied being a part of the scheme to change the law, but it was quickly discovered that they had been a part of it after all.

The plan would have “made it harder for the public to monitor how [state] government works.” It was removed from the proposed budget after tremendous outcry from the public.

Walker’s office has also repeatedly denied open records requests for newspapers across the state, using tired excuses that don’t pass the sniff test in order to justify denying what are reasonable requests.

Now the Walker administration is using another method to deny open records laws: using text messaging to communicate with donors regarding proposed legislation, and then promptly denying that the messages are available for open records requests, calling them “transitory records” that don’t have to be kept.

From the Wisconsin State Journal:
In at least two recent cases, the administration says it doesn’t have to keep certain “transitory” records and therefore can’t release records it doesn’t have. ...

[These records] include text messages between top administration officials related to a failed $500,000 state loan to a struggling Milwaukee construction company owned by a top Walker donor.
The inability of the Walker administration to keep proper records isn’t enough of an excuse. It’s their responsibility to be held to account when asked to produce these records. That includes logging them elsewhere for the public to view them should they make a request.

What’s next for this governor? Using Snapchat to ensure the communications between him and his staff exist for only ten seconds?

Then again, what did we expect from a politician that kept a secret router in his office to avoid documentation of his exploits? This is Walker’s modus operandi -- and it’s why he’s unfit to govern this state.

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