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Friday, January 18, 2008

The PA reform saga continues

Key architects of competing versions of the forthcoming state open records reform bill disagree on whether that bill would let the public read secret conditional funding-commitment letters sent out by Gov. Ed Rendell.

That debate is taking place even as Mr. Rendell said last week: "I have no problem if these become open records in a new law."

Asked if he would object to them becoming subject to the forthcoming open records law, Mr. Rendell said: "No not at all, you know, it's expenditure of funds."

But in the past four years, not even legislative leaders saw them.

One legislative leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "We did not see the letters. When he writes any of these kinds of letters that commit taxpayer money, he should at least copy the four leaders and appropriations chairs, in the interest of transparency in government. It is also very troubling that he would write a confidential letter and tell the recipient not to say anything while budget negotiations are going on. That is an obvious attempt to mislead the legislature, and is certainly contrary to any kind of transparency."

More here.

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