Advocates of open government often quiz candidates for public office on their level of support for official transparency. The candidates, when asked, always tout their commitment. That doesn’t mean they always deliver.
The Ken Kratz case is exhibit number one why secrecy in government harms the public’s interest.
A state website operating since 2007 is supposed to be informing citizens how state government spends some of their taxpayer dollars by disclosing information on state contracts worth $10,000 or more. But it’s not happening.
A state Supreme Court decision rendered prosecutors’ files exempt from disclosure to the public, but past attorneys general have chosen to keep them open anyway. With fall elections approaching, it is a good time to ask candidates what they would reveal – or not reveal – if and when they are in office.
Last fall, area police and a Walworth County’s SWAT team executed a no-knock search at a residence in Delavan. It was a full-scale exercise of police power involving heavy weaponry and equipment. But details of the search were kept secret for a full month. Law enforcement officials, prosecutors and court clerks refused to comment on the operation or the whereabouts of the search warrant files.
Once again, Wisconsin’s online circuit court access program (commonly called CCAP) is under attack.
Help on open records and open meetings laws in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin lawmakers are considering a bill to bar public access to recordings of 911 emergency calls. These audio recordings would be replaced with transcripts. As a broadcast news professional, I understand that 911 calls may be painful for families of victims. That’s why a lot of thought already goes into deciding whether and how to use these recordings.