Free Markets and Freedom of Information

Apparently the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas (FOIFT) has filed a request with Attorney General (and general windbag) Greg Abbott, asking to make certain communications between the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and government officials open to public scrutiny. Known for its secretiveness, among other things (so secret, in fact, that its full list of members isn’t even known), ALEC is claiming, with some acrobatics of logic, that it is both a governmental and private organization.

Texas State Representative Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth) has insisted that the deliberations between ALEC and politicians should be kept behind closed doors, but as Brendan Fischer points out in the aforementioned article, “…Rep. Klick’s assertion—that the requested documents reflect internal governmental deliberations—is undermined by ALEC’s claim that the documents at issue involve the internal deliberations of a private organization,” adding quite rightly and succinctly, “And, because ALEC is communicating with Rep. Klick in her official capacity as a State Representative, the requested documents are official records to which the public has a First Amendment right of access.”

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram agrees, publishing an editorial that contends: “…she shouldn’t keep her correspondence a secret. As the preamble to the Texas Public Information Act says, the people delegate authority to make laws, but they ‘do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.'”

Why doesn’t Representative Klick want the public to know about her communications with ALEC? It’s an organization that, after all, stands for the principles of “Limited Government, Free Markets, and Federalism”; surely that’s something her constituents would be proud to tout? And besides, it’s just a harmless 501(c)3 non-profit, right?

Of course we already know the answer to these questions (it was the Federalists, lest we forget, who gave us the Alien and Sedition Acts). All governments, like all monied economies, are ultimately only collective delusions, and if people at or near the top of hierarchies hate something almost more than anything else, it’s redress from peons. Governments can spy on citizens, sure—power and control can always go down the hierarchy, because that’s, well, the definition of hierarchy. But citizens cannot know what politicians discuss, because then the farce becomes illuminated. And once the public starts pulling on a frayed piece of yarn, eventually the whole sweater will be unraveled (insert bad joke about emperors with no clothes).

In this sense, even if it’s not granted the request it seeks, the Freedom of Information Foundation has made a great tactical move; Klick’s insistence of her innocence only further highlights her guilt.


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