Arguing that transparency is a necessary cornerstone of democracy, State Senator Don DeWitte (R-St Charles) has joined with colleagues to send a letter to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker asking for increased transparency on critical issues relating to the state’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Transparency in government is a necessary hallmark of a well-functioning democracy,” the letter argues. “And at no time is robust transparency more vital to our society than during the current state of emergency when your office possesses unparalleled power and authority over every aspect of the daily lives of Illinois residents.”
The letter makes a plea for increased transparency in three key areas:
- Who are the medical experts and leading epidemiologists that the administration is relying on to make consequential decisions concerning life and death and the economy?
- Who are the experts?
- Is the administration consulting experts from other fields? If so, which fields and which experts?
- Will the administration provide a comprehensive list with qualifications and backgrounds?
- Will the administration release more detailed information on the models being used to make key decisions?
- Upon which specific models is the administration relying?
- How do those compare or contrast with the modeling used in other states or at the federal level?
- How have those models and the estimates changed over recent weeks?
- Will the administration release these models for public scrutiny?
- Will the administration release more information about inmates released early from state prisons as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?
- What are the criteria to make decisions as to who is released?
- Do all of those released fit that criteria?
- If not, who specifically was released that did not fit the criteria, and why were they released?
- Is there a limit to the number of people the Governor is willing to release, regardless of the criteria?
- Are there any violent crimes that are not eligible for release?
- Are there any non-violent crimes that are not eligible for release? As in, are there any non-violent felonies for which someone has been incarcerated, as in burglary, theft, home repair fraud (against seniors in particular) that are not eligible for early release?
- Does an individual’s prior criminal history make any difference?
“Transparency is an essential ingredient needed for a well-run government,” said Sen. Rezin. “Our constituents have the right to transparency when it comes to our decision-making process during this unprecedented health crisis.”
A copy of the letter is at this link.