Some ideas on “How Attorney General Daniel Cameron has curbed Kentuckians’ entry to public data”
For months, the Kentucky Open Government Coalition has sounded the alarm that Attorney General Daniel Cameron represents a transparent and current hazard to the Commonwealth’s open data and open conferences legal guidelines.
Most just lately, we suggested that his determination to deprioritze “Government Transparency” by eliminating it from the listing of “Priorities” on the Attorney General’s web site — burying the subject underneath the “Resources” drop down menu — was maybe symbolic of his disdain for the idea (and the legal guidelines that help it).
Imagine how happy the Coalition was to learn Courier Journal reporter Andy Wolfson’s “deep dive” into the threat to open government Daniel Cameron poses.
Several statements from Cameron‘s spokesperson that seem in Wolfson’s article warrant additional remark. Because we agree with legal professional Michael Abate that “Anyone who believes authorities exists to serve the individuals ought to care deeply that the legal professional common is making it more durable to search out out what the federal government is as much as,” we share these ideas.
Spokesperson: Cameron‘s workplace guided by the rule of legislation
If ever there was a fatuous official line, that is it.
“The Rule of Law” on this case is the workplace playbook for eliminating these pesky selections issued by his predecessors which have “brought about inconvenience or embarrassment” to members of his workers and his political allies.
It is not any coincidence that Cameron now interprets the time period “possession” within the definition of the time period “public data” to imply “bodily” fairly than each bodily *and* constructive possession. Certainly, these ideas are accorded equal weight underneath the “Rule of Law,” recognizing that an individual with constructive possession stands in the identical authorized place as an individual with bodily possession.
Not lengthy after Cameron took workplace, the Finance and Administration Cabinet sued two members of his legal team — who previously served underneath Matt Bevin — to recuperate data referring to the Bevin pardons that had been faraway from their workplaces. Those public data had been now not “possessed” by the Office of the Governor, to which they belong, and couldn’t be produced in response to an open data request.
It was this shift in interpretation — first showing within the “inconsequential” context of inmate e mail maintained by a non-public contractor with the Department of Corrections — that laid the groundwork for the latest selections that at the moment are being challenged in three courts. Those selections declare that communications about public enterprise by public officers on their personal units and accounts will not be “public data” as a result of they don’t seem to be “possessed” or “owned” by the general public company these officers serve — however the truth that the communications are constructively possessed by the company.
Lawmakers —together with Senators Robert Stivers and Damon Thayer — have advocated for this large restriction on the general public’ proper to know for years.
That a few of the harshest critics of Hillary Clinton’s personal e mail server would champion this place suggests the limitless scope of their hypocrisy.
Spokesperson: The selections should communicate for themselves
“The information of each case are distinctive; these selections should communicate for themselves.”
Sadly, this Attorney General’s infatuation with brevity in open data and open conferences selections — and his obvious enforcement of restrictive web page limits — precludes the general public from figuring out these “distinctive information.”
The factual narrative in some selections is so scant it renders the selections incomprehensible. Certainly, it makes any try to match these selections with new disputes — or sq. these selections with previous selections and caselaw — not possible. In addition, arguments superior by appellants in help of software of the legislation to the “distinctive information” of their appeals are repeatedly ignored.
Facts and arguments, it seems, are cherry picked to advance the predetermined agenda pushed final result.
The selections are largely silent on the information. They don’t communicate for themselves.
This one leaves us as apparently speechless because the Attorney General’s spokesperson.
What is disrespectful to the events about amplifying on why the workplace dominated because it did within the cited selections? Since the time for attraction in every cited case has run, there isn’t a risk that the Attorney General’s statements will unduly affect the events.
It is uncertain that something the Attorney General may say might sway the court docket in these instances the place his determination have been appealed.
While the Attorney General has no statutory duty to defend his selections within the courts to which they’re appealed, most politicians would seize the chance to attempt to justify controversial actions.
Could it’s that Daniel Cameron silence is motivated not by respect for the events however as a substitute by his disrespect for the general public’s proper to know?
Public official silence is the enemy of the general public good
Given the state legislative department’s newly legalized authority to conduct the general public’s enterprise in secret — and legislators’ propensity for covertly undermining Kentucky’s open authorities legal guidelines — it’s extra necessary than ever that the manager department officer charged with adjudicating open data and open conferences disputes clarify how latest selections are guided by the rule of legislation, how they communicate for themselves, or how discussing them is disrespectful to the events.
“No remark” will not be an sufficient response to questions in regards to the destruction of foundational rules of open authorities.
– from a Nineteenth-century novel
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