Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, August 31, 2007

Gregoire Tells Voters To Stick It Where The Sun Don't Shine

King County Governor Christine Gregoire's attitude toward Washington's new sunshine law can only be described as ironic.

First, she appoints Tom Carr, a notoriously anti-open government attorney to chair the state's new sunshine committee.

So, if Ms. Gregoire believes that Mr. Carr is best suited to lead this committee, it's perfectly reasonable, under the new Sunshine Law, to ask who the rejected candidates were. Ms. Gregoire refuses.

Gov. Chris Gregoire has refused to reveal the identities of some people who weren't picked for seats on the state's new "Sunshine Committee."

Gregoire, responding to an Associated Press public records request, has kept secret several resumes, letters and e-mail exchanges from unsuccessful applicants to the committee.

In her reply, the Democratic governor cited an exemption to public records law that says applications for public employment can be kept secret.

Open government experts scoffed at that reasoning, pointing out that compensation for Sunshine Committee service is limited to travel reimbursements that several members don't actually qualify for.

"That doesn't make them employees of the state," said Toby Nixon, acting president of the Washington Coalition for Open Government and a former state legislator.

"I don't think what the governor is doing in terms of withholding these documents, claiming they are applications for employment, is right at all," Nixon said. "And I think that the word ironic is a very good word."

If nothing else, she's consistent. She's always looking to subvert laws passed by the little people.

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