Bradley Maxwell’s Anti-Transparency Agenda Tramples Taxpayers’ Right to Know
NAPLES – Bradley Maxwell, Republican candidate for Florida House District 9, announced today that government secrecy is one of his highest priorities—increasing government secrecy, that is.
Maxwell told reporters that, if elected, he will propose a ‘Privacy Act’ that hides from Florida taxpayers the salary information of taxpayer-paid government employees. This platform item flies in the face of Florida’s rich tradition of open government, and tramples taxpayers’ right to know how their money is being spent, down to the department, person and penny.
Salary information of taxpayer-paid government employees is now available through public records requests, as well as on FloridaOpenGov.org, a transparency Web site hosted and maintained by the Foundation for Government Accountability. Candidate Maxwell’s agenda of secrecy would hide this public information, and open the door for taxpayer-paid bonuses and salary hikes to occur in the shadows.
“How dare Bradley Maxwell try to blindfold the citizens and taxpayers of Florida?” asked Foundation for Government Accountability Chief Executive Officer Tarren Bragdon. “Mr. Maxwell made his disdain for open government quite clear with his statements today and his ‘Privacy Act’ scheme. This is an agenda of secrecy that citizens, taxpayers and open governments across the country will not tolerate.”
Many of the government employees Mr. Maxwell claims to want to assist with his anti-transparency ‘Privacy Act’ support open government. In a January 9, 2012 Naples Daily News article, Doug Martin, spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in Florida said, “In Florida we have a culture of public records, and public employee salaries are a public record.”
“The Foundation for Government Accountability prioritizes government transparency as a means for taxpayers to hold their officials accountable,” Bragdon said. “Should Mr. Maxwell’s ‘Privacy Act’ ever be proposed, we are prepared to devote all it takes to defeating the measure and protecting taxpayers’ right to know.”