Gov. Scott Walker’s office pushed to add language into the attempted overhaul of Wisconsin’s open records law that would have shielded briefings, discussions about policy drafts and other “deliberative” documents, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The changes would have also made unavailable to the public opinions, analyses, recommendations, suggestions and notes that preceded a final decision. Republicans on the Legislature’s budget committee advanced a measure to gut the open records law on July 2, but quickly backed off amid a public outcry.
Walker, a GOP presidential candidate, has acknowledged his office had a role in developing the plan, but he also has tried to distance himself from it, saying the overall proposal “didn’t come from us.” But newly available documents point to Walker’s deeper involvement. For example, limits to “deliberative process materials” were in place by June 15, the same day an attorney with the Legislative Reference Bureau wrote to an aide to the state assembly speaker indicating he had spoken to Walker assistant legal counsel David Rabe about the changes. Gallagher’s June 15 email had a subject line of “Governor’s request.”