Madison – State Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette), Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Finance, released the following statement:
“It took over six months, but Governor Evers finally realizes he broke the law and has now agreed to fulfill the original request for records,” said Rep. Nygren. “DATCP fulfilled the exact same request with no complaints, in a timely fashion, and without legal action.”
“The entire lawsuit could have been avoided, saving taxpayer resources, had Governor Evers simply fulfilled the original request or worked with me to address any concerns he had,” said Rep. Nygren. “Instead, he denied the request outright. Once sued, the Governor could have owned up to his obligations, admitted fault, and avoided further cost. But he dragged out the legal fight.”
“It seems that Governor Evers wants to blame COVID-19 for his lack of transparency,” said Rep. Nygren. “Months before Wisconsin was dealing with COVID-19, Governor Evers was sued not once, but twice for hiding records from the public. No amount of finger-pointing can distract from Governor Evers’s abysmal record of hiding documents from the public.”
“If Governor Evers was concerned the original request was overly broad, his staff could have contacted me to seek a resolution,” said Rep. Nygren. “In fact, Governor Evers’s staff has done this for other records requests I have sent to his office. Instead, Governor Evers denied the request without any contact or follow-up. My only option was to seek court action to force Governor Evers to comply with the law. And because of that lawsuit, he is finally going to comply with the law.”
Last summer the Governor and DATCP requested release of funds from the Joint Committee on Finance’s supplemental appropriation. At the time, the Governor and DATCP were withholding information from the Legislature regarding the request. This forced Rep. Nygren to request records from DATCP and the Governor regarding the request. DATCP fulfilled the request in a timely fashion while the Governor and his staff opted to hide their records and deny the request.