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Monday, December 29, 2008

Obama Fails to Disclose Meetings

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Pres.-Elect Obama has not been living up to his promise to publish all the groups with whom he meets on the web. The story notes that his disclosure of donors has been very good.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sonntag Is the Governor!

For a few days. He's number 5 on the gubernatorial line of succession and the other four are on vacation.

Enjoy these few days of Gov. Sonntag. We can only dream about the future ...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

County Decides on a Little Openness

Clallam County commissioners decided to evaluate the county manager in an open, not closed, public meeting reports the Peninsula Daily News.

Early reports indicate that the world did not end.

Publicly addressing the public performance of public employees paid with public money and overseen by publicly elected officials accountable to the public is not a "private" affair. It just isn't.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gov't Sues Another Gov't For Public Records

A water district sued a city for public records, reports the Issaquah Press.

And lost.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Trial in Open Meetings Case

The Kitsap Sun reports on a (rare) trial in an Open Public Meetings Act case. Usually these cases are decided on motions instead of full-blown trials with witnesses.

UPDATE: The citizen lost.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Open Up State Employee Bargaining Process

Mike Reitz at Evergreen Freedom Foundation notes that the state employee collective bargaining agreements will be re-opened because of the budget shortfalls. Why not open them up so the public can see how their money is being spent, he asks.

Treasury Sued Over Bailout Records

Fox Business Network sued the U.S. Treasury Department under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain records relating to the bailouts.

Your money. But you can't know how it's being spent (or given away). The bailouts are a deal between Treasury and giant corporations--you aren't part of it. So quit asking to see how your money is being spent. Who do you think you are?

Thanks to Jason Mercier at the Washington Policy Center for sending this along to og-blog.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hiding $2,000,000,000,000.00

Bloomberg News sought records from the Federal Reserve about where $2 trillion in bailout loans went.

The Fed won't release the records under the Freedom of Information Act.

This could be the biggest heist in world history and we can't see what's going on.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Thought Process of Someone Knowingly and Illegally Destroying Emails

This Associated Press story is amazing. Here's part of it:

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A top aide for Missouri's governor encouraged staffers to delete e-mails under the mistaken belief they had found a loophole in the state's public records laws, an attorney fired from the governor's office said in a deposition released Wednesday.
Gov. Matt Blunt, meanwhile, denounced the investigation into his office's e-mail practices as "ridiculous" and "an utter waste of money."

A lawsuit by a bipartisan pair of court-appointed attorneys general contends Blunt "knowingly and purposely" violated Missouri's open-records law by denying access to e-mails. It asks a court to impose fines.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Supreme Court Orders Ohio Agency to Go Find "Deleted" Emails

The idea that hitting the delete button on an agency email that must be retained makes the public record go "poof!" and disappear .... well, that idea went "poof!" and disappeared.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a seemingly deleted public record must be recovered. Some agencies in Washington state should be paying attention to this.

UPDATE: Here is an interesting editorial on the case.

Special Prosecutor Files Suit Against MO Governor For Destroying Emails

Who said it was no big deal to destroy emails that must be retained and then provided under an open government law? The Governor of Missouri, and that's not working out too well for him.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Open Gov't Bills Proposed

In the next several weeks, we will let you know about open government bills being introduced in the Washington legislature. Here are the first:

Thanks to Jason Mercier at the Washington Policy Center for this heads up.

Why the Light Blogging Lately?

Because lately Allied Law Group has been fighting closed government on several fronts simultaneously.

In a few weeks, we will be announcing details of the growth of the firm. Reinforcements are arriving.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Judge Orders Disclosure of "Town of Residence" In Public Records Case

A judge ordered Kitsap County to release the town of residence of county employees after the Kitsap Sun filed suit to obtain them. The newspaper sought the records to use in a routine database of public employees for various purposes. All the other jurisdictions in the area responded to the same request from the Sun by providing the town of residence records to the Sun.

However, various Kitsap County employees, including prosecutors and sheriffs deputies, filed suit to prevent disclosure because they thought releasing an employee's town of residence (like Bremerton, Silverdale, etc.) would allow people to find their homes. The evidence in the case showed that, as part of the county Assessor's property records, the county's own website provides a Google map to the location of any property owner's home; a declaration in the case described how the county web site provided a map to the home of a prosecutor.

The court ruled that the county employees did not have a "privacy" interest in their town of residence. An exemption from disclosure allows the withholding of a public employee's "residential address" but the court ruled that a town of residence and a full residential address are two different things.

Because the county withheld the records that should have been disclosed, the court awarded the Kitsap Sun its attorneys fees and a daily penalty of between $5 and $100 per day. The amount of the fees and penalty will be determined this month.

Note: Allied Law Group represented the Kitsap Sun in this case.

Monday, December 1, 2008

State Auditor's Office Web Site Survey

The Washington State Auditor’s Office is revamping its Web site, They are asking citizens, audit clients and interested parties to provide feedback on the usability of their existing Web site and suggestions for their new Web site. The brief survey is available at and closes at 5 p.m. on Dec. 4.

The Washington State Auditor's Office is full of very cool people who work very hard to make government more open and accountable. Help them out if you can.