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Monday, February 7, 2011

Not Turning Over Public Records Can Be an Ethics Violation--and Potentially a $5,000 Fine Paid by the Employee

This column by Peter Callaghan at The (Tacoma) News Tribune describes a recent court ruling that RCW 42.52.050(4) of the State Ethics Act actually means what it says, which is:

"No state officer or state employee may intentionally conceal a record if the officer or employee knew the record was required to be released under [the Public Records Act], was under a personal obligation to release the record, and failed to do so. ..."

A violation of this law could lead to a $5,000 fine from the Ethics Board. The offending state employee, not the agency, must pay it.