Governor Scott Walker says a Department of Administration decision to delete text messages regarding a controversial state loan was not consistent with his public records policy.
The DOA denied a media request last summer for the messages mentioned in emails about a $500,000 state loan to a Walker campaign donor, telling the Wisconsin State Journal it was not considered a public record that needed to be kept. The response last August came just a day after the state Public Records Board changed the definition cited by the agency in denying the open records request, and prompted a public outcry that forced that board to undo its changes at a meeting earlier this week.
Asked about how DOA handled the request and the board’s reversal, Walker told reporters in Madison Wednesday that his policy has always been to archive messages regarding state business, no matter how they were sent. “If you ask for information about state business, and it came in – whether it’s on the official email, personal email, or a text message – the expectation is that information from my office or anybody else in our administration should be provided to you,” the governor said.
Walker said he did not know why DOA’s response to media inquiries deviated from that policy though, noting that he had not personally asked about the issue.