University of Louisville Digs In, Says No Need to Release More Records

The University of Louisville has responded to a request by the state attorney general to justify its refusal to turn over documents to the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, in the latest step in an ongoing battle over public records. In a letter dated July 18, U of L’s outside counsel said KyCIR’s public records appeal is moot since university officials earlier this month made public its final audit report. The report by Strothman and Company, a Louisville-based auditing firm, examines the school’s financial controls and was ordered after a series of high-profile thefts at the institution. University officials presented a final version of the report to the board of trustees audit committee on July 2, the same day school officials were required to respond to Attorney General Jack Conway and provide a copy of the draft report and other related information. Since the report was considered final July 2, that document was provided to the attorney general’s office, not any draft report.

Kentucky Gets ‘B’ Grade In Government Transparency

The national leader just five years ago, Kentucky is starting to fall behind other states in disclosing how state government spends the public’s money. In the first four years of its Following the Money report, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group gave Kentucky an “A” grade for its so-called “transparency” of governance. Through the state’s OpenDoor website created by Gov. Steve Beshear in 2009, you could look up state employees’ salaries, state agency purchases, campaign contributions, corporate tax breaks, the names of contract recipients and much more. Kentucky, though, received only a “B” grade this time around. Not because it was less transparent, but because other states became more so, said Phineas Baxandall, a U.S. PIRG senior policy analyst and co-author of the 2014 report, which was released today.