Sunday, March 15, 2009

Stimulus Sunshine: How Much Difference Does it Make?

Today’s Freep provides an excellent chat about FOIA and the public’s right to know.
Some of these points are obvious – “Before disbursing a dime of its anticipated $7.1 billion in federal stimulus funds, Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the Legislature should create a very public and straightforward "checkbook" showing deposits from Washington and payouts in Michigan.”
Obvious but very unlikely.
You may have seen the Mackinac Center’s attempts to persuade the governor to be more open and the lack of regard the state’s chief holds for an open government. If not, we’ve posted the correspondence below.
The Center aptly summarizes the exchanges, “Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s office has twice refused Mackinac Center requests to replicate the online spending transparency found on the Secretary of State’s Web site. Claims by the governor’s office that such a project would be “cost prohibitive,” however, don’t add up.”
On the subject of stimulus money: What’s the lead us to believe that the money will be spent any differently than any other government welfare lottery? Political favors will be paid and those tight with the administration will receive most of the proceeds. This is not just the case in Michigan, but how business is done in all states. Lip service is being paid to transparency here and for Michigan, here.
So far, Michigan has handed over stimulus $$ to public health clinics that didn’t even ask for financial help, a stateside arm of the Peace Corp, and law enforcement.
President Obama’s vast expenditure is neither sound nor fair. And even if we can see where this money is going, this is a rare case in which transparency is frustrating in confirming what we know: Special interests rule.
Granholm - Mac Center Letter
Mac Center Back to Granholm Letter
Granholm Back to Mac Center

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