Groups: New Wyoming auditor delivers spending records sought
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming’s state auditor has provided all state spending records that two government transparency groups sued to get from her office under the state’s public records law, the groups announced Tuesday.
The groups will ask a judge to dismiss the lawsuit, Adam Andrzejewski, executive director of American Transparency, told The Associated Press.
“The culture of secrecy regarding state spending is over,” Andrzejewski said by email.
Burr Ridge, Illinois-based American Transparency, also known as OpenTheBooks.com, and the Wyoming-based Equality State Taxpayers Association sought six years of state of Wyoming spending transactions, including state vendor information.
The nonprofits sued Wyoming State Auditor Cynthia Cloud in 2018 after Cloud began releasing some of the documentation first requested in 2015. The groups said she released the documents at a rate so slow the groups claimed it would take several years to obtain everything requested.
Cloud was term-limited and prevented from running again last year. Wyoming voters elected another Republican, Kristi Racines, state auditor in November.
In January, OpenTheBooks.com threatened to name Racines in the groups’ lawsuit in state district court in Cheyenne if she didn’t provide the records. Racines now has provided all records sought from the state auditor’s office, according to Andrzejewski and Kevin Lewis, vice president of the Equality State Taxpayers Association.
“We have all grown jaded and cynical about government. Kristi Racines is a blast of fresh air,” Lewis said in a news release.
Wyoming was among just three states, along with California and North Carolina, that hadn’t shared state “checkbook” records with OpenTheBooks.com, Andrzejewski said.
Besides releasing the records, Racines refunded $7,820 the groups paid the auditor’s office under Cloud to process and release the records, according to the groups.
Racines declined to comment on the records because the matter remained under litigation but said she was watching the progress of open-records legislation in the state Legislature. “We hope to move forward with making our expenditures as transparent as possible,” she said.
OpenTheBooks.com continues to seek public employee pay and pension records from Wyoming’s retirement system, as well as salary and spending records from school districts and other public entities statewide, Andrzejewski said.
“Public spending records belong to the public, and local governments across Wyoming should take note,” he said.
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