Michigan House Republicans
Rep. DeBoyer: Whitmer lied on government transparency
RELEASE|March 14, 2024
Contact: Jay DeBoyer

State Rep. Jay DeBoyer, of Clay Township, today questioned the resistance of the media to use the term “lied” in reference to Gov. Whitmer’s broken promise to make the governor’s office subject to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

Whitmer promised during the 2018 gubernatorial campaign that if elected, she would unilaterally make the governor’s office subject to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, even if the Legislature failed to pass a law that covers lawmakers. It’s been more than six years since she made that promise, but Whitmer still has not followed through.

“The right term to use, in my opinion, is lied. Gov. Whitmer made a promise, the ability to keep that promise is entirely in her control, and the circumstances have not changed that would give her a valid reason to break it,” DeBoyer said. “If it was not an intentional deception to trick voters, then Gov. Whitmer should explain to the public why she has not kept her word. And remember: Gov. Whitmer promised that she would make her office subject to FOIA regardless of if lawmakers did the same, so the Democrat-led Legislature’s failure to act is not an excuse.”

DeBoyer also called on House Democrats to prioritize a package of bills currently in a House committee that would expand FOIA to cover the governor’s office and the Legislature. The legislation would also streamline the process and increase penalties if the government is found to have intentionally violated the FOIA law.

“I fully support expanding FOIA to cover the Legislature too,” DeBoyer said. “The public deserves to know what their government is doing. Any lawmaker who won’t vote to expand FOIA owes people the same explanation.”

DeBoyer pointed out that the media was not afraid to use the term lie when it comes to making claims against President Trump. Michigan’s two largest newspapers, the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press, have both used that term in tweets about the 45th president.

“Why the double standard in coverage?” DeBoyer asked. “If reporters are going to cover this issue honestly, they should use the right term when talking about it. Whitmer lied.”

Michigan has some of the weakest government transparency laws in the nation. It is one of only two states where the Legislature and the governor’s office are not both subject to FOIA or a similar open records requirement.

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