Education Action Group Sues Open Government Hypocrite Dane Co. (WI) DA Ismael Ozanne

Kyle Olson

6/23/2011 12:01:00 AM - Kyle Olson
Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne sued the Wisconsin legislature over the passage of Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill, citing government transparency issues. He argued that a legislative committee did not post proper notice of its meeting before voting on the legislation.

“Transparency in government is of the utmost importance. It's the foundation that builds communities trust in representatives and government,” Ozanne was quoted as saying at the time.

But Ozanne does not operate his own office by those same standards.

Several weeks ago, Education Action Group submitted two Open Records requests – to Ozanne and former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk – seeking copies of their email communications that pertained to their efforts to block the budget repair bill.

Falk’s successor, Joseph Parisi, filled the request in a timely and legal manner and provided the public records. Ozanne didn’t even bother to acknowledge our request.

After sending another letter reminding Ozanneof the request, EAG took the dramatic step of beginning the process of filing suit. We not only want access to the records that we requested, but reimbursement for legal costs that were spent trying to get Mr. Ozanne to comply with state open records laws.

This is not something we wanted to do. We do not want to spend our hard-earned resources this way. But to have a DA who postures as a crusader for open government display an utter disregard for our simple legal request could not go unanswered.

Ozanne needs to operate his own office by the standard he set for the state legislature. Our lawsuit intends to ensure that he, in fact, does that.