Progress Michigan has been doing yeomans work holding the Snyder administration accountable for corrupt actitivies, shining the sanitizing sunshine needed to ensure that transparency isn’t just a catch phrase used by our Governor. In response to an August request for documents from the Michigan Department of Community Health, Progress Michigan was told in September that no such documents existed. Then, this week, they were told that the documents HAD existed but that they were destroyed when MDCH Director Jim Haveman retired.
However, the request was submitted on August 21st. Mr. Haveman retired after a mild stroke a full week later on August 28th. In addition, the destruction of the documents was illegal.
Here’s what Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan had to say about the matter:
Clearly this administration believes that they are above the law and accountability to the public. Gov. Rick Snyder has promised time and again that he would run an honest and open government. It’s time for Gov. Snyder to show leadership, order the departments to release all documents and allow Michigan citizens to see how his administration truly operates.
The public has a right to this information and these blatantly political stall tactics will not be tolerated. Our attorney has drafted a letter informing the Michigan State Police of the alleged illegal action of the Department of Community Health. We will not stop fighting until the public is granted their right to an open and honest government.
Progress Michigan has sent a letter to Directors of the MDCH and the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget demanding answers as to how they will recitify the situation and keep it from happening again. You can read that letter HERE.
This is third recent incident of Snyder administration officials blatantly disregarding the law governing FOIA requests, according to Progress Michigan:
- The Department of Corrections told Progress Michigan Wednesday that a recent FOIA request would not be completed until late next week. However, the department has previously communicated to Progress Michigan that most of the documents were ready for release. Today, Progress Michigan staff has asked for the completed documents and have now been told by a FOIA coordinator that he is unable to release the documents without “running it up the flagpole.”
- The Department of Human Services informed Progress Michigan staff that documents were ready for delivery on Wednesday upon full payment. However, after receiving full payment, the department reversed course and would not release documents until the communications office had reviewed them. When asked why the department changed course, Progress Michigan was told that it was due to the fact that the FOIA involved Director Maura Corrigan and the communications office needed to review them before releasing the documents.
Gov. Rick Snyder has created a culture of corruption and secretive governance where state agencies are run in a clandestine fashion, answerable only to their superiors and without regard for the transparency that our laws require. The hypocrisy of this, given Gov. Snyder’s white paper titled “Create a Culture of Ethics in Michigan’s Government”, released during his campaign in 2009, is stunning.
It’s also disgusting.