NewsTracker Transparency and Elections

It May Be ‘Sunshine Week,’ But TN’s Transparency Forecast is Partly Cloudy

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is among politicians and government officials from around the country who got called out by USA Today over the weekend for adopting anti-transparency measures.

Specifically, writes USA Today, Gov. Haslam “blithely exempted himself from state financial disclosure rules” with his first executive order after assuming the governorship.

The editorial writers lament that even though state and federal governments “now have laws that largely require public bodies to meet in public and make government records available to citizens…politicians, bureaucrats and law enforcement officers who don’t want the voters to know what’s going on obstruct access to information and decision-making.”

According to USA Today:

This is Sunshine Week, an annual event sponsored by advocates of open government to call attention to the ongoing struggle over the public’s access to what’s being done in its name. (Wednesday) also marks the 260th birthday of James Madison, father of the First Amendment and the man whose copious notes of those debates inside the Constitutional Convention, when eventually made public, became the accepted historical record of how our government came to be.

As these and other struggles show, an ongoing sunshine effort is indispensable. Absent public scrutiny, politicians, law officers and bureaucrats will act like the 18th century aristocrats in their zeal to keep the public in the dark. has compiled what information the Haslam administration has made available here.

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