Thursday, April 3, 2014

ProgressNow Launches Multi-State Executive Accountability Project

Watchdog Seeks Communications Between Governors and Chiefs of Staff 

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today ProgressNow announced a first-of-its-kind effort to root out corruption in state administrations with the unveiling of a multi-state Executive Accountability Project. ProgressNow, through its state affiliates, has made freedom of information act requests seeking transcripts of email conversations between the Governors of Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida, and their chiefs of staff.

“From closed bridges in New Jersey, to favors for polluters in North Carolina, Americans are tired of watching governor after governor misuse their public office for personal and political gain,” said Arshad Hasan, Executive Director of ProgressNow. “It is time we shed a light on the egregious access that special interests and lobbyists have to our states’ top elected officials.  The public has the right to know how these elected officials, who serve at the behest of the people, are operating behind closed doors.”

The effort marks the first time that a watchdog has pursued these types of conversations in a systemic way for accountability purposes. It builds upon the work ProgressNow’s 22 state affiliates have been doing for years.

“This is an opportunity for these Governors to restore public confidence in their offices and actions as executives,” said Hasan. “We look forward to their cooperation.”

Each state varies in its legally mandated response times. ProgressNow expects to receive a response from these offices starting in the next three weeks and will be aggressive in seeking these records and making them available for public consumption.

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