Mike Beebe then and now on public-records transparancy | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mike Beebe then and now on public-records transparancy

Posted By on Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 2:02 PM

click to enlarge WORKING PAPERS: Beebe is for sunshine, sometimes
  • WORKING PAPERS: Beebe is for sunshine, sometimes
A local Republican politico e-mailed to point out that then newly elected Gov. Mike Beebe said this in 2007 after releasing the papers of Larry Zeno, a Parole Board member who had  jokes and photos of a racial and sexual nature on his state computer: 

I believe in the transparency of government and I support the strength and integrity of the Freedom of Information Act. If this document is a working paper, the public’s right to know outweighs any exemption from the reach of the FOIA.

Gov. Mike Huckabee, who appointed Zeno, had refused to release the papers even after losing a lawsuit on the matter. Beebe dropped the governor's office's appeal and released them. Here's the Arkansas Blog post on the Zeno papers in 2007. The situation isn't quite analogous to Beebe's refusal to release applications to state appointments (which led to a state GOP lawsuit this week) since Beebe probably has a stronger legal claim to governor's "working papers" than Huckabee did re: Zeno's files. But as Max pointed out in 2007 on the Zeno papers, just because a governor can claim an exemption, it doesn't mean that they should: 

He's not conceding that the papers aren't gubernatorial working papers. But he's saying the public's right to know outweighs the office's claim to that protection. This was always a distinction that Mike Huckabee refused to draw, even if he understood it. Just because a paper MAY be kept secret under FOI exemptions, it doesn't mean it MUST be kept secret. Thus Beebe has set an example that I suspect he'll follow on such matters as accounting of Governor's Mansion expenditures and the like. Even if it is a gubernatorial working paper (which those records are not) public interest is more important.

Political hypocrisy is so common as to be almost meaningless so it's more useful to look at the merits of the issue. Beebe was right in 2007 and, as Max argued this morning, hopefully the Arkansas Supreme Court will decide that he's wrong today (or, more precisely, that the exemption he's invoking is overly broad).  

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

  • Abuse again at Arkansas juvenile lockup

    A guard was fired after choking a child at the Alexander Juvenile Assessment and Treatment Center. It’s the latest in a long history of mistreatment at the facility.
    • May 26, 2017
  • Health care policy FAQ

    What proposed state and federal changes mean for the future of health care policy in Arkansas.
    • May 25, 2017
  • The health of a hospital

    The Medicaid expansion helped Baxter County Regional Medical Center survive and thrive, but a federal repeal bill threatens to imperil it and its patients.
    • May 25, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Jason Rapert vs. Wikipedia

    Sen. Jason Rapert against the world: Wikipedia edition.
    • Jan 23, 2016
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016

Most Shared

  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.
  • Lynchings hidden in the history of the Hot Springs Confederate monument

    Hot Springs twice erupted into the kind of violence that has its roots in the issues left unresolved by the Civil War, and both times, it happened right where that monument to Confederate soldiers stands today.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation