Wisconsin’s public record law states that "all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those officers and employees who represent them," that there is a "presumption of complete public access," and that only in "exceptional cases" can someone be denied access to these records.
Pretty cut and dry stuff.
However, for the last several years the Walker administration has been giving the run-around to many citizens trying to exercise their legal right to open records. It seems like everything is an exceptional case, because in Walkerland, the exception is always the rule.
A case in point: The Walker administration proposed legislation that would have deleted the Wisconsin Idea from state statutes. When the good citizens of Wisconsin got angry, he called it a "drafting error." The Progressive and others sought to verify by simply asking the Walker administration for public records to see how the Wisconsin Idea found itself on the chopping block.
The Walker administration released some records, but not the ones that reveal who wanted to kill the Wisconsin Idea and why. They claimed an exception that doesn’t actually exist—that the records were the product of legislative deliberations and therefore not subject to the open records law.
So The Progressive filed suit.
A few weeks later in the wee hours of the night, the Wisconsin legislature proposed legalizing Walker's illegal denials of public records. It added provisions to the state budget that would have made Walker's "exceptions are the rule" nonsense the law of the state — not just for the governor but for all state and local officials, including school boards.
Another public outcry ensued, and Walker condemned whomever was behind the horrible idea to cripple Wisconsin's open records request. The legislation was quickly removed from the budget. Public relations disaster averted again!
So the jig is up, right? Now that the legislature has rejected adding a “legislative deliberations” exception to the open records law, Walker has handed over the records revealing who was behind the plot to kill the Wisconsin Idea, right? Nope! His lawyers are still dragging their feet and fighting the release of public records.
So, in other words, while Walker's left-hand sock puppet is condemning the legislation that gutted open records law, his right hand sock puppet is continuing to operate as if this legislation somehow magically passed.