Saturday, March 5, 2011

Scott Walker: Mr. Cellophane

Remember back to the days of the glory days, before Scott Walker took office, when transparency in government was a question put to him?

Mike Pitsch, assistant city editor at the Wisconsin State Journal asked then governor-elect Scott Walker about transparency, then gushed over Walker in his column:
My first question was a softball: “Will you pledge right now to run the most open, transparent gubernatorial administration in the history of the universe?”
Gov.-elect Scott Walker’s one-word reply: “Absolutely.” 
In fact, it’s hard to imagine that Walker will not oversee a more forthcoming executive branch than his predecessor once he’s sworn into office Jan. 3. During his eight years in office, Gov. Jim Doyle and members of his administration increasingly operated out of a bunker, shunning media inquiries, defying the state open records law and keeping his whereabouts under wraps.
Fortunately, a week later, Cory Liebmann, who has probably more knowledge of Walker's ways that even I do, had a rebuttal piece in the paper to correct some of the misstatements made by Mr. Pitsch.  In his article, Liebmann covers only a few of Walker problems with meeting the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.

Lo and behold, guess which one of these gentlemen were correct.  If you guessed Liebmann, you are correct.

News came out that two different news organizations, Isthmus and Associated Press, have filed a lawsuit in Dane County against Scott Walker and his administration for failure to comply with open record requests:
Two local news organizations sued Gov. Scott Walker Friday for alleged failure to respond to their requests for e-mails that the governor claimed were overwhelmingly in favor of his controversial budget repair bill. 
The lawsuit was filed in Dane County Circuit Court by Isthmus and the Associated Press, which had both filed open records requests with Walker's office on Feb. 18 seeking to review the e-mails. 
"The governor said he had gotten more than 8,000 e-mails as of Feb. 17, with ‘the majority' urging him to ‘stay firm' on his budget repair bill," Isthmus News Editor Bill Lueders said. "We're just trying to see these largely supportive responses." 
The lawsuit alleges that the governor's office violated the Wisconsin Open Records law by withholding the messages and delaying access to them. It seeks release of the e-mails and attorneys' fees for filing the lawsuit.
I can promise you that this is just the first of what is sure to be many, many such problems arising. And the best part, not only is Walker keeping secrets from the public, he's using our tax dollars to defend himself against these lawsuits.

In a way, I could see how one could argue that Walker adheres to transparency.  Anyone with their eyes open can see right through him.


  1. Reminds me of how one British cartoonist chose to represent a winger's claims to transparency.

  2. Now the RGA is trying to raise money for him.