Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Secret Email System Would Evade WI Open Records Law

Here's why setting up a secret email system in the Milwaukee County Executive's suite on which Walker staffers and campaign officials blended their work and routinely chatted, planned, fund-raised and kibbutzed on public time was a dangerous thing to do:

Say you were a reporter when Walker was Milwaukee County Executive, and you asked for records about the starvation death of a county mental patient, or the death of the teenage boy killed by falling concrete in a county parking ramp, or any other event or issue involving tax money or public policy.

The requestor assumed all records will be provided under the Open Records law, but if there is an off the books and private system, a lot of important communications would not necessarily be forwarded and could more easily be withheld in the response.

Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had a similar system. He had something akin to a 'Do Not File File.'

When records from his files were sought, those filed under the secret Do Not File were not included, since they were not in proper file.

Both systems - - the Do Not File File and the closed records outside of Open Records - - institutionalized deception, undermined basic democracy and basic media functioning that keep government honest and citizens informed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to me why Walker was not charged with something? Isn't there at least enough evidence for a judge/jury to find that Walker tried to evade Wisconsin's open records law and/or directed the campaigning on Milwaukee County government time?

What am I missing?