Whatís worth all this secrecy?

A message from EFF's Bob Williams
Evergreen Freedom Foundation

2/21/04

If you havenít looked at our Executive Summary of the Boeing contract yet, you should, especially if you are a businessperson struggling to keep your head afloat in Washington stateís terrible business climate. You will be surprised at the provisions we taxpayers have guaranteed to fund for one private company, for decades to come­a private company that does not have to create or protect one job to receive many of the provisions.

First we couldnít get critical details of the contract Governor Locke signed on our (taxpayers) behalf with Boeing­details he claimed were publicly available. The governor, attorney general and Martha Choe with the Community Trade and Economic Development department worked together to keep public documents from becoming public.

Boeing, whose executives seem to want taxpayer subsidies, said disclosing the details behind the request for funds is ďnot in the public interest and would substantially and irreparably damageĒ the company. We had to sue to force release of some of these documents, and so far, the only damage that would be done to the company is in public relations.

The attorney generalís office asked for the removal of the first judge assigned to the case. Today they filed a motion asking the new judge to strike from the records declarations of support for EFFís public records suit from four legislators and former State Supreme Court Justice and current gubernatorial candidate Phil Talmadge. Now Boeing has joined with the attorney general.

Boeing and Governor Locke apparently expect the legislature just to cave in and agree to the expenditures. Legislators, who had in essence given the governor a blank check to use in negotiating with Boeing, donít have all the important contract details; in fact, the funding requests are buried in the capital supplemental budget and are nearly unidentifiable. Yet legislators will be asked to vote on funding for elements of the contract as early as next week.

We hope they will agree to at least read the contract before voting. Most have town halls scheduled this weekend. We hope you will earnestly communicate your concerns to them ASAP. You can find out how to contact your legislators here.

Oh, by the way, the governor agreed that any costs for lawsuits brought against Boeing as a result of the contract will be picked up by us, the taxpayers. You donít mind, do you?

EFF has invested more than $20,000 to date exposing the details of the Boeing contract. As a result, Boeing dropped at least one provision that saved taxpayers $5.1 million. If you would like to help us as we continue to push for real business reform in our state, you can contribute with a few clicks through our secure online server.

 

 

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml]

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