Happy Sunshine Week, Mr. Van Hollen! | WisCommunity

Happy Sunshine Week, Mr. Van Hollen!

Sunshine Week, celebrating the virtues of open and transparent government, begins on Sunday, and Atty. Gen. J.B. Van Hollen about it.

At least that's the impression you get from his Dept. of Justice website, where he reminds visitors that:

As Wisconsin’s chief law enforcement officer, I bear special statutory responsibility for interpreting and providing advice about our Open Meetings Law and Public Records Law. I have committed the Department of Justice to educate government personnel and members of the public about these important laws, and to facilitate compliance with their requirements.

He does, indeed, have special responsibilies to enforce those laws. Many of his predecessors, including Jim Doyle and Peg Lautenschlager, took that responsibility very seriously.

Van Hollen says he's committed to protecting open government, too.  So here are a couple of ideas about what he could do to celebrate Sunshine Week.  Feel free to suggest others:

     -- He could walk across the hall from his office and tell Gov. Scott Walker that it would be a good time to comply with some open records requests which have been pending for some time, and on which he has been stonewalling.

      One asked for correspondence between Walker's administration and a lobbyist for Koch Industries, owned by the billionaire brothers who bankrolled Walker's campaign.  OWN is considering a lawsuit.  Two weeks already have gone by since the request.

While he's talkling to the governor, he might mention that the Associated Press and Isthmus, the Madison alternative weekly, have already filed a lawsuitt over the Walker administration's failure to release emails Walker claimed to have received in support of his union-busting plan. Walker said they'd have to pay $31,000 for the emails.

Or maybe, just maybe, he could mention that the legislature probably broke the Open Meetings Law when it rushed to passage of his anti-worker package last week.  That even has the state's newspaper editors

Those are just a few of the things our attorney general could do to show a good faith effort to celebrate Sunshine Week. He would probably tell you that no one has asked him to take any action or issue an opinion, and that may be true. But he doesn't need to be asked.

As the statewide elected official entrusted with the "special responsibility" for enforcing open government laws, he should be all over this.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Area Labor Council is asking people to call Van Hollen's office to complain about the Senate vote:

Please call, J.B. VanHollen. They're keeping track of everyone who's contacting them to intervene on behalf of WI Worker's rights regarding the illegal vote that took place. The people who are answering the phone are very polite so show them kindness and concern about what happened. Be sure to state you want the Attorney General to intervene on this vote. Phone 608-266-1221

Why not? Can't hurt.

While you're on the phone, be sure to say, "Happy Sunshine Week, JB".


March 11, 2011 - 6:04pm