Records requests lasting five or more months is a “violation” says Public Access Counselor
John Gregg’s “Open Government Initiative” would cut down delay to FOIA requests
INDIANAPOLIS – With Wednesday marking the start of what is RFRA 2.0 at the Statehouse, the Indiana Democratic Party today is once again calling for Mike Pence to formally disclose all records surrounding its cancelled contract with Porter Novelli, an agreement costing Hoosier taxpayers $365,000.
But much like Mike Pence’s “study” session on LGBT rights – it’s been 204 days and still no documents on the contract have been sent to the Indiana Democratic Party. If it were up to Gov. Pence’s own Public Access Counselor, Mike Pence would be in clear “violation” of the IDP’s request – given the public’s interest on the issue.
“Hoosiers are well aware Mike Pence’s out-of-touch ideology threw our state into a $250 million economic panic. However, the governor’s refusal to produce documents surrounding a taxpayer-funded contract should be another red flag to Hoosiers,” said John Zody, Chairman. “Gov. Pence should explain to Hoosiers how he wasted their taxpayer dollars in favor of his own political agenda, one that has caused Indiana to fall further behind the rest of the nation.”
The IDP’s Porter Novelli records request isn’t the only one to go ignored by Mike Pence. Last year alone, the Pence Administration failed to produce records on requests such as the HIV outbreak, the I-65 bridge closure, and the expected departure of Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann, bringing an overall total to 359 days. And in 2014, Mike Pence failed to produce records to the IDP after he chose to decline an $80 million grant that would have established a statewide Pre-K program. For that request, it’s been 461 days and counting. It should be no surprise that Indiana has an “F” grade in public access.
Yesterday, John Gregg announced his new “Open Government Initiative,” a proposal that would open up government and reaffirm transparency between the public and the Statehouse. In the new plan, Gregg will mandate a ten-business day turnaround for all records requests while also strengthening the powers of the Public Access Counselor. Further, Gregg will create a Public Transparency Commission that would provide a thorough review of the state’s existing public access laws and ways to improve on the system.