Racine Journal Times | Public records don’t belong to bureaucrats

Bemoaning policymaker efforts to keep records from public scrutiny, The Racine Journal Times writes:

Sigh. Is it really that hard for state legislators to comply with the state’s open records laws and provide public information in a straightforward and timely fashion?

Wisconsin saw another case of foot-dragging and obstructionism last week when a conservative law firm, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, was forced to sue Democratic state Rep. Jonathan Brostoff of Milwaukee to get copies of his emails related to occupational licensing reform.

Brostoff opposes the reform and WILL supports it, so it was probably no surprise when the law firm asked for copies of the legislator’s emails on the subject late last year. 

WILL requested the records be delivered in electronic format, but an aide to Brostoff told the law firm they would have to write a check for $3,240 for thousands of pages of printed copies.

Instead of, maybe, putting it on a thumb drive or two for a cost of $20 or so?

Brostoff’s staff said they relied on the advice of the Assembly chief clerk that Assembly policy and state law allow them to provide the emails in paper format.

Last week, WILL sued in Dane County circuit court arguing denial of the electronic records was “arbitrary and capricious.”

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