Governor Walker’s Mansion Mystery: The Case of the Missing Visitors Log
Security-Obsessed Administration Claims No Records of Comings and Goings at Executive Mansion Where Walker and Family Reside for at Least Five Months
MADISON, Wis. — There’s a mystery at the taxpayer-funded Executive Mansion – provided to Gov. Scott Walker and his family – as at least five months of visitor logs appear to have vanished. In response to a request for the log of comings and goings at the mansion made by One Wisconsin Now under the state open records law, first filed in April 2015 but not receiving a response until late October 2015, Gov. Walker’s administration is claiming they have no records for November 2014 through early April 2015.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross blasted the Walker Administration response saying, “Gov. Walker and his minions delayed, misdirected and obfuscated efforts to obtain very simple information – who’s coming and going at the taxpayer-funded executive mansion. Just because Gov. Walker might find it politically embarrassing or inconvenient doesn’t mean he can ignore the law.”
Ross noted that Walker has overseen a particularly security-obsessed administration, spending an unprecedented $8 million-plus on protection for himself and members of his family during the first four years of his administration. Yet incredibly, the administration claims there are no visitor logs covering a six month period from November 2014 through early April 2015.
Walker’s contentious relationship with the state open records law has been scrutinized in the past. When serving as Milwaukee County and running for governor, Walker’s campaign staff berated public employees to be more political and slow down compliance with requests made under the open records law. Prosecutors investigating wrongdoing by close Walker aides and associates also uncovered how different parties request for records were treated unequally, conduct ultimately not among the charges on which aides were convicted but which they felt may have crossed a legal line.
Walker made national news when it was revealed this summer he was behind efforts to all but obliterate Wisconsin’s open records law. The move was aborted after activists from all ideological stripes and media from across the state condemned the attempted change.
The records that were provided, covering early April through August 2015 do reveal that as Gov. Walker prepared to launch his bid for president, lasting all of 71 days, individuals associated with his campaign were frequent visitors to the mansion. A copy of the records provided can be accessed at http://onewi.org/1RCPYxK.
Ross concluded, “Requesters of open records are consistently treated like meddling kids by this administration. It may be a mystery as to what happened to the logs of visitors to the Governor’s Mansion but what is clear is that Gov. Walker has something to hide.”