Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dicey Ducey Dodges Disclosure of visitors

The report ran on the front page of yesterday's AZ Daily Star.

Who visits the Arizona governor and his administration will no longer be an open book.

Gov. Doug Ducey has done away with maintaining visitor logs, a practice used by the last three governors. While visitors are not required to sign in, the logs offer a trail of lobbyists, government officials and others who spend time at the Governor's Office.

Ducey said the logs don't give a complete picture anyway because they are voluntary, the Arizona Capitol Times reported (http://bit.ly/1Iw4erZ).

"Our review said that those logs were incomplete and inaccurate," Ducey said at a recent news conference. "So we didn't want to present something that was incomplete and inaccurate."

Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said no logs means a savings on paperwork and better efficiency for the office. But he did not know if the administration had any internal strategy for monitoring visitors to the state capitol's Executive Tower.

Saving on paperwork? Oh, please. What a load of crapinato. Let me suggest such a strategy. Install an electronic touch pad which visitors use to log in. Make the system transparent by posting it to the web updated daily. And make visitor sign-ins mandatory. That would solve the accuracy problem our good Gov. worries about and also address the concerns of transparency advocates.

Advocates of transparency in government disagree with the decision [to eliminate the logs]. Attorney Dan Barr of the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona said the lack of a log decreases transparency. It's essential for the public to know about anyone who is visiting with a gubernatorial administration, he added.

... Barr said the decision is especially questionable considering Ducey received money from anonymous contributors through independent expenditure groups in last year's election.

Or, shall we say, the dark money guys can get access to Dicey without anyone knowing. Why else would Dicey darken the logs when an obvious alternative is available. Oh, pardon me. I can feel it coming. A mandatory sign-in system would add to the regulatory burden on the AZ citizenry. So getting rid of the logs is a service to the public.

For more on the GOPlins' preference for lurking in the dark, see my previous post from Feb. 8 and AZBlueMeanie's post at Blog for Arizona today. Meanie and Scriber concur on the simple solution to Dicey's dilemma (making sign-ins mandatory). Goes to show you - great minds think alike.

BTW - David Safier (Tucson Weekly) has a good post on Dicey's PR guy, Daniel Scarpinato. Scarpinato has been around for a while in GOP circles and now is helping Dicey find his way in The World According to GORP. A sample: "It's nice to have Scarpinato back in Arizona. So many ridiculous statements, so little time."

BTW#2: One of Scribers' readers reports hearing an NPR story claiming that Dicey is ducking the flak by reversing course and reinstating the log a while back. Scriber has no confirmation at publication time but will keep you posted. Any link to said story will be appreciated with 15 seconds of fame.

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