(The Center Square) – Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, are continuing their spat over the governor’s refusal to initially turn over records relating to last year’s state budget. 

“Last summer, the Governor and [the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Production] requested release of funds from the Joint Committee on Finance’s supplemental appropriation. At the time, the Governor and DATCP were withholding information from the Legislature regarding the request,” Nygren wrote in a statement. “This forced Rep. Nygren to request records from DATCP and the governor regarding the request. DATCP fulfilled the request in a timely fashion while the governor and his staff opted to hide their records and deny the request.”

On Friday, Evers’ office said it finally fulfilled the request. 

“Rep. Nygren asked for every document that contained one or more common terms, such as ‘mental health’ or the names of several lawmakers,” the governor’s office said in its statement. “Simply put, while Rep. Nygren may have the time during this pandemic to let a lawsuit unnecessarily drag out in court, the governor’s office does not.”

Nygren said that line of thinking is just wrong. 

“It seems that Gov. Evers wants to blame COVID-19 for his lack of transparency,” Nygren said. “Months before Wisconsin was dealing with COVID-19, Gov. Evers was sued not once, but twice for hiding records from the public. No amount of finger-pointing can distract from Gov. Evers’ abysmal record of hiding documents from the public.”

Nygren said the release of the documents is, essentially, an admission the governor broke the law. 

“It took over six months, but Gov. Evers finally realizes he broke the law and has now agreed to fulfill the original request for records,” Nygren said. 

The governor’s office said it has turned over 10,000 documents in the case.

Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.

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