Politicians and their email. There should be a class that every politician takes before running for any office on using email. The final exam would be one question, open book: What’s the best way to hide email?
Trick question. You can’t. Ever. If someone wants to find what you’ve been saying, they will find it.
And they don’t even need an NSA wiretap to do it. Frankly, if you’re reading this story, there’s a pretty good chance Google already knows way more about you than the NSA ever will.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker stupidly thought he could hide email while he lied to the people of Wisconsin about the contents of those emails. He was wrong.
In early 2015, when Scott Walker was proposing his biennial budget, he tried to slip in a little change that pissed off a lot of people in a big way. That’s because he was messing with the Wisconsin Idea, which is a guiding principle that defines the purpose of the University of Wisconsin (UW) system and its interaction with the state. Last February, when Walker presented his budget, the change was quickly apparent. Walker’s team (already focusing too much on starting up his failed Presidential bid) started scrambling.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
“First articulated in 1904, the Wisconsin Idea states that the mission of the UW System is to solve problems and improve people’s lives beyond the classroom. The core principle is that ‘the boundaries of the university are the boundaries of the state.’
“But in the proposed budget he released Tuesday, the governor made the UW System’s mission to ‘meet the state’s workforce needs.’ He also proposed striking language about public service and improving the human condition, and deleting the phrase: ‘Basic to every purpose of the system is the search for truth.'”
The gist of the changes comes down to flipping the Wisconsin Idea from an effort to engage the communities around the state to having the system work specifically to fill the state’s workforce needs. Walker quickly tried to play it off as a mistake. It was a “drafting error.” Made by “someone.” Not him, of course, but someone else.
Even back in February, the evidence that these changes were deliberate was apparent enough for Politifact to give Walker a Pants On Fire rating. His efforts to hide email not included in the original information requested by the Center for Media and Democracy was busted when a judge forced him to release a series of emails previously withheld.
If you’re as nerdy as me, you can read this new set of emails and attachments (all 82 pages) here. Enjoy!