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Monday, September 26, 2005 

WHAT IS MIKE BEEBE HIDING?


Earlier this year, Attorney General Beebe’s office was FOI’d by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette for emails pertaining to “official” activity. The Attorney General’s office declined to release to the public exclaiming “working papers exemption” and “executive privilege.” I wonder if Mike Beebe remembers his initial position on this issue in an Arkansas Democrat Gazette article?: (“Beebe: FOI Exclusion for Working Papers Applied Too Liberally,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 10/26/02)


Flashback:


Attorney General-apparent Mike Beebe said Friday he doesn't share the governor's view that a "working papers exemption" in the state Freedom of Information Act exempts all documents in the governor's office from disclosure….Also responding to a question, Beebe said he'd consider proposing legislation to narrow the exemption, but he made no commitment at this time beyond "considering" such a possibility.
He said his general philosophy is that it's usually not good policy to change state law simply because of the aberrant actions of one particular administration. The senator was meeting with the Arkansas Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and the FOI Coalition in Little Rock to discuss his views on the public's right to know the doings of the government and on his coming legislative package.
Beebe said his general attitude about the Freedom of Information Act is supportive because "open government is essential to the operation of a democracy, and this is best obtained through watchful guardians." He also said a "less salutary reason" for supporting that law is that he's "scared of the press," but that it's "healthy that they'll expose you if you do something real bad." He said he has not developed the legislative package he'll offer as attorney general but has been learning more about the operation of the attorney general's office in cooperation with Attorney General Mark Pryor and members of Pryor's staff. So far, he has "not set foot in the office" but has worked by telephone and conversations outside of that office, Beebe said..
(“Beebe: FOI Exclusion for Working Papers Applied Too Liberally,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 10/26/02)

Mike Beebe, do you still believe that open government is essential to the operation of democracy? If so, why do you not give the public access to what is going on in the Attorney General’s office? Are you scared that the press will expose you of doing something real bad?

Mike Beebe, you cannot have it both ways! What are you hiding?

The evidence is that this is blatant political hipocrisy. If the people of Arkansas are willing to consider Mr. Beebe for Governor, they should have the luxury of him coming clean on many things that he has tried to hide (i.e, being on retainder for Entergy; running a campaign out of Attorney General's office). Mr. Beebe can run from these things, but he cannot hide. Mr. Beebe, when will you come clean?

If the above post is not sufficient evidence of Mike Beebe’s hypocrisy – this also adds to Beebe’s inconsistencies:

State Sen. Mike Beebe says he sees no need for adding further restrictions to the state's Freedom of Information Act. Beebe, who will be the state's next attorney general, as he has no opponent in November, spoke Friday to the state's Society of Professional Journalists organization. The Searcy Democrat said he doesn't think all documents possessed by the governor's office should be off-limits under the FOIA exemption for the governor's working papers. Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee routinely cites the working papers exemption in refusing to release papers from his office. Beebe sees that provision differently. "I don't think everything is subject to executive privilege on working papers or else it denigrates the credibility of when you say something is truly off-limits because it's governor's working papers," he said. Beebe said the test should be if a reasonable person, not the governor, concludes the document truly is a working paper. But he said a good public policy law should not be changed just because of the way one public official applies it. Beebe also said current laws that allow information about ongoing police investigations to be exempt from the FOIA probably cover most situations dealing with homeland security. But he said he would look at each situation individually in case an usual condition arises. (“Beebe Says Freedom of Information Laws Adequate,” Associated Press State & Local Wire, 10/25/02)

Why doesn't Mike Beebe put some teeth into enforcing his own office to disclose his public records (Article referenced below):

Thank goodness to read about the proposal of Sen. Mike Beebe, D-Searcy, and Rep. Shane Broadway, D-Bryant, who want to put teeth in the FOIA. The legislators want to introduce legislation at the 2001 session which provides for "some sort of authority that would give preliminary guidance and immediate sanction enforcement" on complying with the law. The FFOI law, enacted in 1967, is designed to make most government meetings and records open to the public. But Beebe said it can take up to eight weeks to resolve a dispute over the law. (“Radical Proposals,” Associated Press State & Local Wire, 2/2/00

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