There's nothing quite as frustrating as carefully culling the campaign contributions of developers such as Doracon Contracting President Ronald H. Lipscomb online, linking them to articles so others can review them, only to have the pages disappear in a day or two.
This is not the first time I have had this happen to me since I began blogging, but now other bloggers I know are reporting the same problem.
So far, it's an unsolved mystery.
When I contacted the Maryland Board of Elections, and after I called three different numbers before I could get someone in IT, I was then promptly handed off to the University of Baltimore County, which maintains the campaign contribution portion of the site.
Of course, I was unsuccessful at reaching anyone there. So I sent an email to the Webmaster asking why the pages of campaign contributions I linked to were disappearing, or wrong? If and when I get an answer, I'll let you know. But for now, the disappearing pages are a mystery. And if I had a conspiratorial inclination, I might even think that somebody in high places didn't want citizens to scrutinize the contributions.
After all, Maryland is one of the few states that requires anyone reviewing these public records in person to provide an ID and telephone number. And did you know that in Maryland that the clerk can then contact the elected official and report to them who is searching their records? It's the law, passed by state legislators.
That's one more reason why reviewing records online makes a lot of sense, especially considering the price of gas. But if the pages and addresses to these records melt into thin air every couple of days, it means citizens like me have to start all over with our research. Maybe we might even grow tired and give up!
So much for transparency in government.