MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin's attorney general has never taken a state or local government body to court for violating the state's open government laws.
Gannett Wisconsin Media says the Justice Department defers complaints to local district attorney's offices. The D.A.'s generally don't prosecute, saying they don't have enough resources -- and they're asked very seldom to charge open records and open meeting violators, so they don't have the experience that Madison might have.
Gannett, which puts out 10 daily newspapers across Wisconsin's mid-section, says hundreds of residents who complain about government secrecy are caught in the middle.
In one such case, a letter from an assistant attorney general said the state may prosecute in matters of statewide concern. Justice spokesman Dana Brueck confirmed that Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has handled such a case during his seven-plus years in office.
Gannett said Van Hollen's predecessor, Peg Lautenschlager, only filed court cases twice against open government violators during her four-year tenure.
(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)