And pretending communications between lobbying and elected officials is unimportant and off limits for public scrutiny is doubly insulting. They got caught, and are now backtracking:
State officials are backing away from their effort to ease the requirements for maintaining public records following a backlash among open government advocates.If you think state officials will make this go away, you're mistaken, they're still going to make texts messaging exempt:
The board that oversees state public records will instead revisit its August vote on so-called transitory records, such as texts and other messages deemed to have only temporary value, its chairman Matthew Blessing said Thursday. The August action by the Public Records Board could limit the access of citizens and media outlets to information from texts, emails, Facebook messages and other electronic methods that public employees might use to communicate about official actions.
...the board "will place those items on a detailed agenda for an upcoming meeting."And just like before, when Walker threatened to do away with our open records laws, he took a few steps back hoping to deflect blame, for now anyway. Too late...
A spokeswoman for Gov. Scott Walker distanced the governor's office from the issue. "The Public Records Board has been in place long before the governor took office and has received no directive from our office," Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said.Still, Walker tried to make it seem like his governorship is open to the public:
"Occasionally, when I get emails or texts on my own personal phone, I forward those to my state account so it's easy for us to do a search on those," Walker said. "So they're actually in the state system" ... he tries to document texts or other communication he receives on his personal cellphone."Of course he does, since they're really part of the public record. But in reality, Walker would make those emails and texts "transitory," off limits.
The same day he made these comments, two former administration officials admitted they were told to keep important communications secret. No, really, it was that quick:
But on Friday, a new report found former members of Walker's cabinet say the administration has had a policy of communicating official business through private channels. Peter Bildsten, former secretary of the Department of Financial Institutions, and Paul Jadin, former head of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., told the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism that they were instructed in Walker's first term by then-Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch not to use official email or state telephones to relay important information or documents. Huebsch said, "Don't send me an email of anything important on my state computer, and don't call me on anything of importance on my state phone. If you have anything of consequence or importance, call me on your personal phones or walk it over."
jsonline: "And that is how most communications were handled going forward," Bilsten told Dee J. Hall of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.Huebsch went as far as to throw both important members of Walker's cabinet under the bus, in an incredible juvenile moment of lying:
Jadin said he remembers Huebsch "bragged" about not using email and "making a big deal about what emails were discoverable."
Huebsch, who now serves on the Public Service Commission, denied he told cabinet members "to avoid making public records" and said the allegation that he told them not to use state telephones is "ludicrous. In this era of 'gotcha' politics, where opponents and some journalists use anything available not just to embarrass but destroy, extra caution is essential."