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Time For ‘To Tell The Truth’ Over Public Records With Legislative Republicans

July 5, 2015

I thought of the famous quote from President John Kennedy this weekend as the political explosions following the outlandish actions of Republicans at the statehouse vied for attention with the celebratory Fourth of July fireworks.

“Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan”. 

So many times over the past weeks we have had press statements so voters would be privy to the thinking of legislators who extolled the virtues over removing the waiting period to buy a gun, alert us as to why there is a need to undermine scientists at the DNR, or reduce incomes for workers through the prevailing wage law. We are all aware there is never a shortage of press releases when a legislator wants to be known for how he or she stands on an issue.

But how quiet it is now that the question is raised about who was responsible for the language placed into the motion before Joint Finance that would have allowed public records to be closed. The wording in the motion would have prevented requests for lawmakers’ communications with their staff and for drafting records of legislation after being introduced in its final version.

We all know there is something to hide when everyone goes quiet on the biggest question hovering over the statehouse.   That is exactly what is happening.

Well, it may not be in the interest of the person who started this mess to come forward but that will not stop the citizens from seeking an answer. It may not be the political issue the Republican Party wants to deal with this week but it will be the issue the press corps must be relentless with as they seek to nail down who was the person who tried to have this matter placed in the budget.

I personally believe this all started in the office of Governor Scott Walker and was aimed as retribution over the mess with the UW Mission Statement. There is every reason for Walker and Republicans to feel embarrassed over their inept handling of trying to undo the Wisconsin Idea. Thankfully due to public records we know how the mess came to be, and who is to blame. But because we do know there now has to be some mechanism in place to make sure that the public is never privy to such informational sources again.

That is how state Republicans think and have acted on a number of issues over the past few years. And it must come to an end! That style of politics runs counter to what citizens expect—no DEMAND—from their elected officials.

There must be accountability from the one who placed this item in the motion. Furthermore I want to hear more than a sound bite from those Republicans on Finance who seemed utterly content with their party line vote last week to move this item along. How could they in good conscience have voted for such an absurd idea?

Public repudiation over what was attempted must be meaningful and felt by those who attempted it so that it will not ever again be contemplated.    

The right to know how my government works and who seeks a remedy and by what means for any issue is not a private matter for back rooms with good ol’ boys.   History shows the light of day and a reporter’s notebook are essential ingredients for a healthy republic. How this is not self-evident to statehouse Republicans is most troubling. 

What happened to legislative Republicans over the past few days in the state has been a debacle.  But we know it was not an orphan.  We need to know who is the one responsible.

Who will be the modern-day Gary Moore and tell us the truth?

3 Comments
  1. July 9, 2015 12:19 PM

    Tom, I was wondering where you were and how this topic did not bring a comment. Glad you had some time off and hope it was relaxing. Welcome back.

  2. tom permalink
    July 9, 2015 11:28 AM

    I leave town for a week and look what happens….This Is disgusting. Walker and the rest of the republican leadership let us all down. Shameful.

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  1. What were Wisconsin Republicans thinking? - The Atwood etc.

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