Opinion Columns & Blogs

Redacted documents make open-records law a joke

The latest revelations about how the Brownback administration privately e-mailed lobbyists and others as it crafted a budget demonstrated how publicly funded entities use redaction to dodge transparency. Through the Kansas Open Records Act, The Eagle and the Topeka Capital-Journal were able to obtain copies of the state budget director’s private e-mails directed to the public e-mail address of former House Speaker Kent Glasscock, who heads Kansas State University’s Institute of Commercialization. But KSU inexplicably blacked out most of the e-mails, presumably deeming them to be exempted from disclosure. As the Capital-Journal noted, “K-State could have released the documents but chose not to do so.” Last month the city of Wichita released a similarly redacted public incident report on the Jan. 3 police shooting of John Quintero. About the only point such documents serve is to perfectly illustrate the opposite of transparency in government. – Rhonda Holman