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Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Issues Formal Opinion to the Government Accountability Board Concerning Whether the Board Could Release its Confidential Investigative Records to the Legislative Audit Bureau

MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued a formal opinion today to the Government Accountability Board (“GAB”) Director and General Counsel Kevin Kennedy concerning whether GAB could release its confidential investigative records to the Legislative Audit Bureau (“LAB”) under Wis. Stat. § 12.13(5).  Mr. Kennedy has asked whether GAB could provide its investigative records to LAB when Wis. Stat. § 12.13(5)(a) only allows those records to be disclosed when “specifically authorized by law.”  Van Hollen concluded that GAB may not provide its confidential investigative records to LAB because there is no specific authorization for it to do so. The Wisconsin legislature has provided specific authorizations for the access of confidential information in other circumstances, but LAB’s right to access documents in Wis. Stat. § 13.94 only provides a general right to access documents with no specific authorization to access either confidential GAB records or records made confidential by other statutory sections. In addition, the Legislature emphasized the importance of the confidentiality of GAB’s investigative records by including criminal penalties for violations of Wis. Stat. § 12.13(5).


A copy of the Attorney General's opinion is available here.


A copy of the opinion request is available here.


Formal and informal opinions issued by Attorney General Van Hollen are available here.