Tuesday, November 22, 2011

And We Wait

Six weeks ago today the Democracy Campaign filed an open records request with the state Government Accountability Board seeking documentation of any enforcement action relating to the law requiring disclosure of the occupation and employer of campaign donors who give more than $100. We are still waiting for the information we seek.

The law requiring disclosure of contributors' employment information is the heart and soul of campaign finance disclosure in Wisconsin. It provides voters essential information about the financial interests of donors and some insight into their possible motives for seeking to influence state elected officials with campaign donations.

The Democracy Campaign has called attention many times over the years to the failure of numerous candidates to disclose this required information on the campaign finance reports they submit to the GAB. In fact, we filed a complaint with the board as recently as this June over missing occupational information on the reports of three senators who faced recall elections this summer. We have heard nothing from the GAB in response to our complaint, and there is nothing in the minutes of the board's meetings or other public records to indicate that any enforcement action has been taken.

With our current open records request, we are trying to answer a simple question: Is this key disclosure law being enforced? We suspect the answer is no, but we can't know for sure unless the agency obeys another pivotal law upholding every citizen's right to know what our government is up to.

4 comments:

muttmutt said...

Mike, you'll see Godot before you see those records. Just sayin'...

Daniel said...

Hi Mike: I would think GAB would be required to provide requested records within an established time frame. If not, have phone calls been made? It seems GAB NEEDS A PUSH from the citizenry. Perhaps a few thousand calls to their office would provide the impetus to do their jobs and provide the requested information in a timely manner. Send out an email with the contact info and we the people will handle this. Take care, Dan

Mike McCabe said...

The open records law requires agencies to respond to requests "as soon as practicable and without delay."

Contact information for the Government Accountability Board can be found at http://gab.wi.gov/contact.

Todd J said...

The law...I'm pretty sure the law only applies to those of us without the money or influence to get around it. Maybe it's not totally true yet, but is is becoming truer and truer by the day. If Walker gets recalled my faith in the system may be restored some. But, the Federal
Government is a total mess awash in cash from special interests. It no longer represents us. Interesting times I tell ya...