Sunshine "Weak:" Wisconsin leaders failing state's open government traditions

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March 15, 2013 3:07 PM

From The Center for Media and Democracy's PRWatch:

“If Wisconsin were not known as the Dairy State it could be known, and rightfully so, as the Sunshine State," the Wisconsin Supreme Court observed in 2010. "All branches of Wisconsin government have, over many years, kept a strong commitment to transparent government.”

But just in time for Sunshine Week 2013, GOP leaders in the state are showing how they are failing that proud tradition.

The secret email system in Scott Walker's County Executive office has remained secret. The system was used in the runup to Walker's 2010 gubernatorial election to coordinate messaging between campaign staff and county employees, and has been a key piece of evidence in the "John Doe" investigation that resulted in charges for six people. Although legitimate campaign-related emails are not covered by the state's open records law, anything related to public business should be accessible to the public -- and evidence indicates that a significant amount of the public's work was conducted over the secret system.