Bill Lueders’ statement on MacIver lawsuit, lottery bill

Action alerts

Dear Council members and supporters:

I write to call your attention to two issues:

The first is the filing of a lawsuit by the MacIver Institute against Gov. Tony Evers, alleging that he has selectively denied information and access for reporters from the MacIver News Service. The lawsuit is described in this press release; you can read the actual lawsuit here.

The lawsuit alleges that Evers has refused to include the MacIver Institute on its media email send list and has barred its reporters from attending press briefings. These allegations are deeply troubling and merit the attention of all members of the press and all defenders of open government.

Because I am not a lawyer and this area of the law is complex, I cannot say whether the conduct described is a violation of law, but it certainly is not in keeping with the state’s proud tradition of open government. If Tony Evers has what it takes to lead state government, he ought to be able to withstand the inclusion and presence of reporters from a conservative news outlet.

I write also to call your attention to an excellent editorial that appeared in today’s Wisconsin State Journal on the bill being pushed by Rep. Robin Vos to shield the names of lottery winners. This is yet another truly terrible idea from the Legislature’s most determined foe of open government. The director of the state lottery, Cindy Polzin, has spoken against this change, which would make it considerably more difficult to detect and expose possible fraud, as in the past.

Please consider bringing your own voices to bear against the governor’s alleged exclusion of conservative media and the Assembly speaker’s latest legislative effort to embrace unnecessary and dangerous secrecy.

Bill Lueders, president
Wis. Freedom of Information Council