Gov. Ducey's administration ends practice of visitor logs

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX (AP) -- Who visits the Arizona governor and his administration will no longer be an open book.

Gov. Doug Ducey has done away with maintaining visitor logs, a practice used by the last three governors. While visitors are not required to sign in, the logs offer a trail of lobbyists, government officials and others who spend time at the Governor's Office.

Ducey said the logs don't give a complete picture anyway because they are voluntary, the Arizona Capitol Times reported.

"Our review said that those logs were incomplete and inaccurate," Ducey said at a recent news conference. "So we didn't want to present something that was incomplete and inaccurate."

Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said no logs means a savings on paperwork and better efficiency for the office. But he did not know if the administration had any internal strategy for monitoring visitors to the state capitol's Executive Tower.

Advocates of transparency in government disagree with the decision. Attorney Dan Barr of the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona said the lack of a log decreases transparency. It's essential for the public to know about anyone who is visiting with a gubernatorial administration, he added.

"Imagine the uproar there would be if that happened at the White House," Barr said. "Should a record be kept for who goes in and out of the governor's office? Does the public benefit by knowing who has access to the governor and his aides during office hours?"

Barr said the decision is especially questionable considering Ducey received money from anonymous contributors through independent expenditure groups in last year's election.

Issues of government transparency are also currently at the forefront in the Arizona Legislature. Republican House lawmakers voted Tuesday for a rule change allowing their caucus to meet privately for any reason. Democrats in the House have conducted similar meetings over the years. According to Democrats, the meetings are unannounced, but the public is allowed inside.

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Information from: Arizona Capitol Times, http://www.arizonacapitoltimes.com

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