Transparency doesn’t come cheap!

“It’s important for citizens to simply have all the information they need and deserve so they can hold all of their elected officials accountable.”

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

Michigan Secretary of State and self-appointed transparency advocate Jocelyn Benson has come under fire for the hefty price tag her department is assigning to FOIA requests.

When the Michigan Republican Party attempted to obtain documentation of the Secretary of State’s efforts to implement the new redistricting commission under Proposal 2, the Freedom of Information Act request resulted in a $10,049 processing bill. An earlier request – described by Benson’s office as “overly broad” – had an even larger $45,904 price tag!

Since the entire point of the redistricting commission is allegedly to create a process that’s “fully transparent” – you know, for the voters – Jocelyn Benson sure doesn’t seem interested in making transparency cheap or easy.

It comes as no surprise to those of us at the Michigan Freedom Fund. Our own FOIA requests of the Secretary of State have been met with unreasonable delays, hefty price tags, and outright denials. These delays and prohibitive costs fly in the face of Governor Whitmer’s directive to force state government to respond quickly, efficiently and thoroughly to open records requests.

If Jocelyn Benson is as interested in transparency as she claims to be, she would make it easier and more affordable for every citizen to know what their government is doing. Unfortunately, the only thing transparent about Jocelyn Benson is her hypocrisy.

 

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