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Friday, December 13, 2013

Kleefisch, Walker Officials: Stonewalling Media/Public Is Just Standard Operating Procedure

The first in a series of meetings supposedly about tax reform hosted by the Walker administration was held at Beloit College with area business leaders. I say "supposedly" because we don't know for sure. According to the Beloit Daily News, one of their reporters tried to attend, but was not allowed in until the final segment an hour after the meeting began.

Surprisingly, the BDN delivered a sharply worded editorial soon after the incident.

BDN Excerpt: (Titled: Let the people in on the issues)
OUR ONLY OBJECTION: Kleefisch barred the door to keep the discussion out of the public eye. Everyday citizens could not sit in to hear what the business community wants and expects from the state. A Beloit Daily News reporter was evicted from the room. Blocking reporters from doing their job keeps the press from informing the public about the issues deemed important to growing the economy and creating employment. Read more >>>

This is par for the course from the Walker Administration and now that they were challenged by establishment figures, we can expect Walker's team to double-down even harder on their efforts to stonewall the public on these meetings because to do otherwise would be an admittance of wrong-doing and a surrender to open government advocates.

In fact, Kleefisch’s chief of staff, Casey Himebauch, said the majority of the event is closed to the press to allow participants to speak freely without worrying about what they have to say. Himebauch said, "This is just standard operating procedure."

Remember folks, these meetings are taking place on the taxpayers dime, hosted by taxpayer-paid public officials and recorded using taxpayer owned equipment. The BDN was spot on describing their actions as not the system of government America has embraced and that The Founders, clearly envisioned a free press as a crucial component of liberty and holding officials accountable.

The decision to close the meeting also caught the attention of good government activist Scot Ross, director of the advocacy group One Wisconsin Now. Ross filed an open records request to obtain a copy of video of the meeting recorded by a member of Kleefisch’s staff.

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