Two years ago, Jim Kasper made 26 separate open records requests (emails, letters, any form of communication) between the Department of Public Instruction and private, federal, and state entities. It was ‘sweeping in breadth’ and covered a period of 6 years. The estimated cost was $440,000!
Because Kasper issued emails directly to agencies, his request was discovered, and out of sheer public embarrassment, he dramatically pared back his request.
Public records requests legislators routed through the Legislative Council are exempted from open records laws. In fact, all communication from legislative communication has been declared ‘off limits’ by guess who? – Legislators!
That’s right, legislators like Kasper, who abuse open records laws to bludgeon an agency head, are doing it from behind the curtain.
We have no idea of how many open records requests Kasper has issued through the Legislative Council, but it is a fair guess, there have been many.
Legislators regularly send open records requests through the Legislative Council in order to obtain information from University & State Officials, State Agencies, Foundations, City or County Officials, state employees, etc.
More often than not, those requests are aimed at ‘finding dirt’ on someone for political advantage. And if anyone makes even the smallest error on what constitutes an open record or open meeting, these legislators and their allies are all too eager to pounce on the violation and the individuals responsible for ‘violating the law’.
A good example of this is the attack on Kirsten Diederich for an open meeting violation when she was Chairman of the SBHE. In reality, most officials are doing their best to comply and rely on legal opinion that later is contradicted by the Attorney General.
So when Senator Tim Flakoll (R-D44) introduced SB2222 to apply public records laws to open records requests made on behalf of a legislator, it was clear Kasper’s abusive request had triggered the legislation.
The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 44 to 3. From there it was assigned to (drum roll please)… the House Veterans and Government Affairs Committee chaired by (drum roll again please)… Representative Jim Kasper!
Kasper complained that it ‘might reveal what a legislator was working on’.
Gee whiz Jim, isn’t that the reason you insist on open records for every state, county, city, or township official. Perhaps you will sponsor a general open records exemption for public officials if disclosure would ‘reveal what they are working on’! (It’s OK to smirk now.)
Once again, the Forum issued another opinion chastising Jim Kasper.
Let’s be honest here. Kasper actually believes open records laws are fine for public officials so long as none of his records are included.
Kasper’s committee raised every phony excuse they could generate and recommend SB2222 be defeated. So on March 31, 2016, it failed on the House floor with most Democrats voting in favor of the bill and Kasper’s cronies voting against. There were a few Republican legislators, however who didn’t buy the excuses of Kasper and his compliant committee members. Representative Kathy Hawken (R-46) voted to approve the bill.
Perhaps Hawken had had her fill of Kasper’s unbridled hypocrisy.
Here in District 46, many believe it is time to call Kasper by a deserving title. ‘Former’ State Representative Jim Kasper.
Fire Jim Kasper and his EXTREME CRONIES!
And Get Your Voice Back!