Writing for the Atlantic, a former appointee of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) claimed he and other department heads were instructed to not use email or state-issued phones to pass along sensitive information in order to avoid possible scrutiny later.
According to Peter Bildsten, the former secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, he had a falling out with what he believed to be a like-minded Walker that led to his being dismissed after the governor became obsessed with running for president.
"The last straw, for both of us, came in February of 2015. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had called me into his office ahead of my re-confirmation vote as Secretary of the Department of Financial Institutions. He told me he was going to propose merging four of Wisconsin’s state agencies, including mine, into two," Bildsten wrote.
The former department head claims he protested, saying the merger would hurt his ability to oversee financial institutions that had been buffeted by the financial meltdown and said he wouldn't publically back it, leading to his ouster.
According to Bildsten, Walker's "shrink the government" obsession was based on his belief that he could be a viable presidential candidate -- which was eventually belied by his being one of the first GOP hopefuls to drop out of the 2016 primary won by Donald Trump.
Of note in his recollection about his time in Walker's administration was the revelation that agency heads were given specific instructions to hide internal discussions that could come back to haunt Walker -- both in his home state and nationally.
"Even early on, however, I noticed that not everything was as it should be. At more than one Cabinet meeting, the Secretary of the Department of Administration, Mike Huebsch, told us never to send him or the governor any electronic documents of consequence, and to avoid the use of our state-issued cell phones," Bildsten recalled. " 'If you send me an important report electronically, I won’t open it,' I remember him saying, 'and if you call me on your state phone, I won’t answer it.' If we had any important documents, they were to be 'walked over' and hand-delivered to the governor’s office."
" As a result, open record requests by the media or political opponents would be almost futile," he explained. "This lack of transparency would be a hallmark of the Walker administration."
You can read more insider information on how the embattled Walker has run his administration here.