Want government transparency? Only if you pay for it

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  • By Write Winger
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Want government transparency? Only if you pay for it

So in laymen's terms, the government actively hid information from the public. The government had to be sued and taken to court to release this information, at great expense

You'd hope a government comprised of the people, by the people, and for the people would be bound by the principle of transparency, that the people would have access to and have an idea of what their government was up to when they take it upon themselves to regulate and enforce their laws on us.

Last month, we brought you a story about how it took a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to reveal in ATF agents' own words how they had little confidence in their record keeping abilities as it pertains to NFA weapons and the National Firearms Registration and Transaction Records, information vital for the owners of NFA weapons to make an educated and informed decision to prove they're in compliance or risk facing real prison terms due to the government's inability to keep accurate records.

Just as troubling is that it took a lawsuit, and expenses associated with lawsuits (i.e. lawyers are expensive), for the government to release this information to the people they supposedly serve. Keep in mind, the plaintiffs have asked for this information for years leading up to the lawsuit and have been hamstrung along with refusals to redactions of this vital information. How many people have been wrongfully convicted of NFA violations due to the ATF's poor record keeping, and why did they try for so long to hide their ineptness?

Typically, and under certain eligibility and entitlements, the plaintiff will have their attorneys' fees paid if their case against the government is won, and in this case it was. So naturally, the government is fighting their claim, stating there is "no public benefit from the released records".

So in laymen's terms, the government actively hid information from the public. The government had to be sued and taken to court to release this information, at great expense to the plaintiff. The plaintiff wins, and the government is now saying the information they hid doesn't benefit the public so they don't owe the plaintiff shit.

Get how this works?

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