Wednesday, July 2, 2014

#FOIAGATE Takes More Turns Courtesy of @MikeforIllinois Self-Inflicted Wounds

This whole #FOIAGATE story just gets weirder. News out this morning is that after much pressure, Mike Frerichs and his cronies over in the Illinois Senate President's office have finally caved and are going to release public information to...wait for it...the public. Gasp!  Can you believe it?  

We're shocked, too.

From the news:
After three months of evasion, blocking and bureaucratic denials, Senate President John Cullerton’s office has finally agreed to release public documents on Sen. Mike Frerichs, as legally required by the Freedom of Information Act. The change of course came one day after Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider gave Cullerton’s office a one-week deadline before filing an official Request for Review with the Attorney General’s office and possible legal action. 
“It shouldn’t be like pulling teeth just to get the Democrats to follow their own laws on transparency and good government,” Schneider said. “Then again, they can’t exactly be proud of their record after massive tax hikes, record debt, and families and businesses leaving the state on their watch.” 
The office of Sen. Cullerton, who himself is Mike Frerichs’ top campaign donor thanks to a $50,000 contribution, since April had been withholding public information on Frerichs’ use of taxpayer dollars. House Speaker Mike Madigan has released nearly identical information about Rep. Tom Cross, at the Frerichs campaign’s request. 
The reversal by Frerichs’ ally Cullerton also came mere hours after Frerichs himself seemed to contradict previous campaign statements, by announcing on WDWS-Champaign that he had consulted with this staff regarding the FOIA and had compiled all the information requested. Regardless, Frerichs still refused to release the documents and maintained that stance during the interview. 
From the interview - WDWS AM-Champaign, July 1, 2014:“I understand in talking to my staff, and say 'why don’t we just release this?' they said we have information compiled, we’re ready to release it - but they have put a very expensive, burdensome request out there, and if they just rein in the scope, they’d be able to release it right away," Frerichs told WDWS-AM on July 1st. 
Frerichs’ on-air comments about who complied the information seemed to contradict comments his spokesman made last week to the State Journal-Register:
State Journal-Register, June 26, 2014
“Koutsky responded that, ‘We are not the FOIA officer,’ meaning Madiar has the role of handling requests made to the Senate via the Freedom of Information Act. … 'We have not asked (for) any special favors,' Koutsky said. 'We are letting the process take its place.'" 
“Mike Frerichs wants to be Illinois’s treasurer, so why does it seem like he’s working so hard to avoid accountability for how he’s spent our tax dollars in his office? With ongoing scandals at IDOT and Governor Quinn’s NRI, now more than ever the hardworking taxpayers deserve full transparency and accountability,” Schneider said.
Add this scandal to the pile of self-inflicted wounds that Mike Frerichs and his team have brought to the campaign.  From the campaign launched 'with a lie' to his call for a massive service tax, Frerichs and company have been the absolute best fodder for someone (like us!) looking to lampoon the Illinois political scene.  

For your voters, Mike:  you better change things up.

But for us?  Please, please, please:  never change.  We dance like this every time you open your mouth:

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