FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Progress Michigan
September 15, 2014
Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574, firstname.lastname@example.org
Progress Michigan Releases Over 100 Pages of Administrative Communications
Release is part of larger effort to hold executive office accountable
LANSING — Today, Progress Michigan released over 100 pages of email communications between Gov. Rick Snyder’s Chief of Staff Dennis Muchmore and the Michigan Department of Corrections. The documents were obtained through Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.
“The foundation of democracy relies on an informed public and the type of information contained in these requests is vital to holding the Snyder administration — and all elected officials — accountable,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “Access to emails like these between public employees allows us to ensure our tax dollars are not being wasted and gives us a glimpse into the operations of our state government that are happening behind closed doors.”
On Thursday, Progress Michigan released an email string between Daniel Heyns, the head of the Michigan Department of Corrections, and Dennis Muchmore, Gov. Snyder’s chief of staff. The emails revealed that was Heyns worried about “losing a joint” due to the increase in volatility because of consistent Aramark failures and that the $98,000 fine the Snyder administration levied against the out-of-state corporation never happened.
“For months, the Snyder administration allowed itself to be quoted in stories where the $98,000 fine was mentioned and yet they never sought to make a correction to that reporting, leading us to believe they were trying to deceive the public,” Scott continued. “Gov. Snyder needs to do what he should have done from the very beginning and cancel the state’s Aramark contract before someone gets hurt.”
The FOIA request to the Department of Corrections is part of a larger campaign by Progress Michigan, and Progress Now affiliates across the country, to expose communications between executive offices and departments.
“Michigan’s FOIA laws are broken,” Scott continued. “Access to public information should not be a drawn out and expensive process. The public and the media have a right to this information. We will continue to keep the press and Michiganders in the loop about what we uncover.”
Progress Michigan also called into question the nature of the redactions that occur throughout the requested documents. On Friday, it was discovered that a questionable redaction stated, “Do we need to get a drink?” The illegal redaction calls into question other instances throughout the FOIA request and Progress Michigan has demanded that the Snyder administration release all of the emails and information that was redacted in their original FOIA request to the Department of Corrections.
“This governor promised he would reinvent the state, but apparently Snyder’s reinvention of Michigan means less transparency, less accountability and more scandals,” said Hugh Madden, communications director for Progress Michigan. “How many fall guys does the governor get before he is held accountable for the corruption in his administration?”