open records watch: Walker edition
Someone in Wisconsin added a provision to the state’s new budget that would have revoked some of the state’s public record laws. According to Wisconsin Watch, just where the provision came from is clouded in mystery:
A review by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism shows similarities between recent records request denials from the governor’s office and the state Department of Administration and changes inserted in the budget Thursday by Republican leaders — similarities that raise questions about whether Walker himself was involved in the budget proposal.
According to The Wisconsin State Journal,
The proposal blocks the public from reviewing nearly all records created by lawmakers, state and local officials or their aides, including electronic communications and the drafting files of legislation. The language was included in the final version of the state’s 2015-17 budget, which passed the Legislature’s budget committee on a party-line vote late Thursday. The budget bill next goes to the full Assembly and Senate.
Despite voting for the motion, Republican members of the panel all professed not to know who proposed the public-records changes. Joint Finance Committee co-chairman Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, refused to answer a State Journal reporter when asked which lawmakers requested them.
So legislators in Wisc. put fourth a budget with a mysterious provision that guts the state’s open-records laws just before the state’s controversial governor’s expected to announce he’s running for president. Le sigh.
Thankfully, the outrage has caused Walker to back down here. But it does leave you wondering if there’s some meetings with special interests he’d rather not have surface in a presidential campaign.