New reports from the Wisconsin State Journal and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel show that Scott Walker was aware of the approval of a loan from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to one of his political donors, William Minihan. This latest development directly contradicts “statements by the governor and his aides that he was not aware of the award,” said the Journal Sentinel. Consequently, American Bridge has filed FOIAs for the correspondence between Gov. Walker, his chief of staff, and Minihan and Minihan’s company, Building Committee Inc. American Bridge is working diligently to hold the governor, his office, and his political cronies accountable for this shady loan deal, which has cost Wisconsin taxpayers millions.Read more after the jump.
Republicans have been quick to score political points after recent e-mail controversies, but even more GOPers are now being called out for their own transparency issues. Chris Christie,Terry Branstad, Ted Cruz, and Jeb Bush are the latest Republican pots to call the kettle black.
Check out the recent dust-ups over Republican email hypocrisies:
WNYC: “One year ago this week, a taxpayer-funded report traced the George Washington Bridge lane closures to Gov. Chris Christie’s office and determined that a series of reforms were needed to make sure nothing like Bridgegate ever happened again…”Read more after the jump.
Bush Emails Website: “I Am Posting The Emails Of
As Florida governor, Jeb Bush used another, previously unreported email address, records show – the newest wrinkle in an evolving debate over public officials’ use of private email accounts.
Those emails also include references to another email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. Bush said through a spokeswoman that he was unaware of the account, although records showed that people wrote to him there more than 400 times between 1999 and 2004.
Jeb Bush attacked Hillary Clinton’s private e-mails as “a little baffling, to be honest with you” but what’s baffling is why Governor Bush would taunt others given his troubling vulnerabilities about his much more extensive e-mail problem.
The Washington Post reported that Bush compromised security by discussing troop movements on his personal e-mail account, and The New York Times found that it took Governor Bush more than seven years to fully comply with a Florida public records statute on email disclosure — a violation of state law.
It’s Sunshine Week in Florida, but storm clouds are gathering for Jeb Bush. Take a look at the press he’s earning for his hypocrisy on e-mail records and transparency.
New York Times: Mr. Bush delivered the latest batch of 25,000 emails in May 2014, seven and a half years after leaving the Statehouse and just as he started to contemplate a potential run for the White House, according to a newly disclosed letter written by his lawyer.
A Florida statute governing the preservation of public records requires elected officials, including the governor, to turn over records pertaining to official business “at the expiration of his or her term of office.”
“If they’ve been adding to it, it’s a technical violation of the law,” said Barbara A. Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group in Florida that advocates access to government information.Read more after the jump.
Ahead of Governor Bush’s weekend in New Hampshire, he called in to NH Today radio bright and early this morning and said this of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails: “I don’t quite get it. I’m a little confused by it.”
That’s funny, because according to an expert quoted in today’s Wall Street Journal, Governor Bush “did exactly what Hillary did” in choosing what emails to disclose from his private account.
What’s actually confusing is why Jeb continues to hold himself up as a paragon of transparency when he released just 250,000 of the over 3 million emails he apparently sent and received during his time as governor.But remember, Governor Bush isn't the only GOP 2016er with questionable email practices.
To: Interested Parties
From: Brad Woodhouse, President, American Bridge 21st Century
Date: Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Re: 10 Questions For Jeb Bush And One For The Media
I have one question for the media. If y’all are going to spend every waking moment obsessing over the minutiae of Hillary Clinton’s email habits, why shouldn’t Jeb Bush — whose usage of private emails and servers during his tenure as governor is strikingly similar to Clinton’s — be subject to the same scrutiny?
If anything, Governor Bush has more issues with his transparency than Secretary Clinton, and he’s done far less to address them.
So here are ten questions he should answer:
- If Bush sent and received over 3 million emails as governor, as he has said himself, how are we to believe only 250,000 were public records?
- How did Jeb Bush decide which emails were public records and which staff members were in charge of that process?
- What key issues were discussed in the 90% of emails that remain unreleased? The 2000 recall? Terry Schaivo?
Last week, former Virginia Governor Republican Bob McDonnell became the first Virginia governor to be convicted of a felony, with a federal grand jury finding him guilty of 11 counts of corruption. Across the country, another GOP Governor, Scott Walker, faces questions stemming from an investigation into his own potentially felonious behavior, as highlighted by recent editorials in his hometown newspapers. Indeed, the most recent documents released in the John Doe investigation into Walker illustrate his alleged centrality to a criminal scheme to illegally coordinate campaign spending with an outside group, Wisconsin Club for Growth.
The New York Times editorial board last week pointed to a $700,000 contribution from a large mining company to Wisconsin Club for Growth, timed closely with Walker signing pro-mining legislation into law, as evidence that the Governor and his aides “brazenly violated state campaign finance regulations”:
Newly released documents show that the mine operator, Gogebic Taconite, secretly gave $700,000 to a political group that was helping the governor win a 2012 recall election. Mr. Walker had urged big corporations to give unlimited amounts, without fear of public disclosure, and many companies that wanted favors from the state happily obliged. Once the recall failed, the favors began to flow, even at the expense of the state’s natural resources.
But perhaps even more damning for Walker are a pair of editorials from two of the local Wisconsin publications that have been tracking the investigation most doggedly, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and the La Crosse Tribune. Both editorial boards not only offer strong rebukes for the Governor’s scheme to raise money in support of his campaign during the 2012 recall election, but emphasize the importance of the John Doe investigation itself.Read more after the jump.
It isn’t every day that the chief executive of a state admits that he expressly operates in a manner to skirt transparency laws. But that’s exactly what Governor Corbett has done.
As the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported last week, Corbett has gone to incredible lengths to conduct business outside of the public eye:
“The governor said he rarely uses email because he knows reporters would file Right-To-Know requests to get them. Instead, he said, he uses the telephone. He said he needs the freedom to be able to express opinions that he may later want to change. Mr. Corbett said he deletes his emails about once a week.”
That’s a stunning concession and one that demonstrates contempt for the spirit of open democracy. As such, American Bridge is issuing a FOIA request for Governor Corbett’s official phone records. The people of Pennsylvania deserve to know exactly what their governor has made such a concerted effort to conceal.
The report to exonerate Chris Christie in Bridgegate, for which he spent $1 million of New Jersey taxpayer dollars, dominated local news coverage in New Jersey yesterday. The general sentiment – we spent a million bucks for this? – comes as no surprise given Christie’s taxpayer-funded attorneys did not even interview key players in the scandal, took the governor’s claims at face value, and failed to release all of the evidence they reviewed for their report.
See for yourself here in American Bridge’s new video: http://youtu.be/n9ybvAzq8ck