The State of Washington’s budget is in crisis, with a projected $3.2 billion shortfall. (Although, that’s better than the California budget, which is facing a $42 billion shortfall which the Terminator described yesterday as a “rock upon our chest”, but I digress.)
It’s up to Gov. Christine Gregoire to do something, and it appears that she did…she asked the budget director for some ideas and he complied, giving her 87 ideas for what to do.
The folks at the Evergreen Freedom Foundation wanted to see what those ideas were, so they filed a FOIA request.
Well, darn. The 87 ideas are a secret:
EFF asked to review these ideas, only to have Gregoire’s budget office tell us this document was exempt from public review. Her budget office (OFM) claimed the document was protected by “executive privilege”—an exemption that doesn’t actually exist in the Public Records Act.
Where have you, my loyal readers, recently heard a governor claim executive privilege? That would have been Jon Corzine, the Gov. of New Jersey, seeking (so far successfully) to protect e-mails he exchanged with a girlfriend/labor union organizer.
But before that? Where did you used to hear about executive privilege? Anyone? Anyone?
We turn to the Open Government Guide to discern whether the Washington Public Records Act has any court-derived exclusions, common law prohibitions, recognized privileges against disclosure and find none that seem to apply.
Gov. Gregoire may or may not have a legal leg to stand on in denying these records to the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. But, you know…wouldn’t she want the folks in her state to see the ideas?