There’s a simmering transparency crisis at the state Capitol, and the press is turning up the heat.
Late in January, the Detroit Free Press reported that high ranking members of the Michigan State Police were caught using a third party app on their state phones to automatically hide and delete public records related to personnel decisions on the force – and heaven-knows what else.
The software allows public employees to avoid Freedom of Information Act filings and record-retention requirements in state law.
In other words – they were (perhaps illegally) destroying public records.
Lawmakers are furious. They’ve asked high ranking state police officials to testify about their use of the app but they’re doing their best to avoid those questions.
The Whitmer administration and other high ranking state officials are even less interested in answers.
When asked by the Free Press if employees are allowed to install applications that automatically delete public records, they’ve ducked the question.
According to the Free Press:
“Attorney General Dana Nessel, who is charged with enforcing the state FOIA law, had no comment Monday, spokesman Ryan Jarvi said.
“A spokeswoman for Whitmer, who was initially a defendant in the MSP lawsuits (that exposed the deletion software), did not respond to a request for comment.”
We have a few more questions we’re sure the Governor doesn’t want to answer either.
Does anyone else in her administration use the app (or similar software) to automatically delete public records?
Do department heads? Senior staff?
Is the Governor personally aware of staff or appointees using the software? Does she?
And if so – what are they hiding?
Michigan Freedom Fund