open records

Rep. Bob Brooks and Sen. Duey Stroebel

Two identical open records requests to legislators produce differing results

BY: - March 23, 2021

Recent open records requests to state legislators show what happens when state lawmakers delete records, an exception they created for themselves alone when they wrote the law forcing all other government officials and state agencies to retain and provide such records. Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) and Rep. Rob Brooks (R-Saukville) were asked for records on […]

Sunshine week for open records

Help the Examiner get records from the Kenosha Police

BY: - March 21, 2021

Sunshine Week is over, but the Examiner’s investigations go on throughout the year. Wisconsin’s open records law is meant to allow for members of the public and the press to hold government officials accountable. Sometimes, as we have reported, those officials fight transparency, using a variety of tactics to keep information hidden. Often, government agencies […]

Milwaukee PD vehicles gather in a parking lot during the Wauwatosa curfew in October, 2020. (Photo by Isiah Holmes)

Milwaukee PD’s hidden hand in the Wauwatosa curfew

BY: - March 17, 2021

On Dec. 4, 2020, Wisconsin Examiner received a final response to an open records request from the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD). The request sought any video recorded by MPD personnel during the Wauwatosa curfew two months before. It specifically focused on video and images captured by personnel assigned to surveillance and undercover vehicles during that […]

Pre-Assembly news conference, Majority Leader Jim Steineke and Speaker Robin Vos, 11/12/19

Hintz: Vos and Steineke use speakers task forces to avoid action

BY: - February 4, 2021

Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz calls Majority Leader Jim Steineke’s statements regarding the Speaker’s Task Force on Racial Disparities “offensive and appalling.” On Wednesday, an email that Steineke sent to Speaker Robin Vos in August, suggesting that Vos set up the group and appoint him  to lead it, was reported by Up North News. The […]

Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber. (Photo | Isiah Holmes)

Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride named as ‘target’ by police

BY: - January 13, 2021

Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride was identified as a “higher value target” by his own police department, according to an internal PowerPoint presentation created by Wauwatosa police. The PowerPoint, sent in an email on Sep. 1, 2020, was forwarded by a member of the department’s Special Operations Group (SOG) to a supervisor in the department’s Investigative […]

Wauwatosa Police Department squad cars responding during a standoff with protesters on July 7, 2020. (Photo by Isiah Holmes)

Tosa PD found ‘significant training issues’ in the Anderson shooting

BY: - December 1, 2020

“I have identified two significant training issues regarding this incident,” reads a version of the Wauwatosa Police Department (WPD) administrative review of Jay Anderson’s shooting by the Officer Joseph Mensah, who resigned on Nov. 30. The review, conducted by supervisors within the department, is part of a trove of emails obtained through recent open records requests. […]

Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber. (Photo | Isiah Holmes)

Tosa PD charges high fees for lawyer’s records requests

BY: - September 15, 2020

“I definitely think that they are doing things that are very intentional to impede our investigation,” Kimberly Motley, a lawyer representing the families of three people killed by a single Wauwatosa police officer, told Wisconsin Examiner. It’s been months since Motley, and her colleague Deja Vishny first filed a slew of open records requests to […]

Vintage Top Secret Stamp

Want a public record from Robin Vos? Prepare to be frustrated

BY: - November 25, 2019

John Public has a problem with the office of state Rep. Robin Vos, the Speaker of Wisconsin’s State Assembly.  He or she made an open records request of Vos’ office on July 1, 2019, asking for “all emails to and from your office and staff concerning public records requests for 6/26 – 6/28/19.”  In a […]

"Top Secret" stamp

Tony Evers needs to get religion on government transparency

BY: - November 13, 2019

Let me be clear about this: Gov. Tony Evers does not have a terrible record when it comes to open government. The reporters I know have not flagged any major changes in terms of access to records and meetings. The one open records request that I made of Evers’ office was responded to in a […]

"Top Secret" stamp

‘Shhh! It’s a Secret’

BY: - October 28, 2019

Wisconsin, over the last few years, has entered a new era, one marked by open contempt for the state’s tradition of open government from the people charged with serving the public interest. I don’t say this lightly. As president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, an all-volunteer group that advocates for access to public […]

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul speaking

First test for AG’s public transparency website request comes from Evers

BY: - September 27, 2019

In July, Attorney General Josh Kaul instituted a new transparency measure at the Department of Justice (DOJ). When he is asked to give a legal opinion on a matter, he will offer the public an opportunity to comment on the topic before he issues his opinion. This new process and website “allows the public to […]

Sheila Plotkin with her spreadsheet

Open records request reveals overwhelming opposition to lame duck session

BY: - September 3, 2019

Republican lawmakers who voted late last year to shackle the powers of incoming Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul did so despite thousands of messages from voters imploring them not to, newly revealed correspondence records show. A tally of email and telephone correspondence with legislators — including a group of more than a […]