Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Release of Fallin Emails Doesn't Silence Critics

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Release of Fallin Emails Doesn't Silence Critics

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - Although an Oklahoma County judge recently ruled that Gov. Mary Fallin could keep some records confidential under the concept of the deliberative process privilege, the governor's office Monday released the final set of documents sought by The Lost Ogle.

But the legal fight may not be over. The satirical website's attorneys said they are poised to appeal the court's holding, arguing that no such privilege is to be found in Oklahoma law.

Fallin's office was under a deadline to produce a so-called privilege log on the final 31 records, all 100 pages of them, by Wednesday. In the log, only certain information from emails, but not their content, was to be detailed.

The website asked for records relating to the governor's decision not to establish a state-based health insurance exchange or expand the Medicaid program as authorized by the federal Affordable Care Act.

The Lost Ogle published the 100 pages online Monday afternoon.

"I firmly believe and the court has affirmed that it is important to protect the legal right of governors to receive candid and private advice," Fallin said in an emailed statement. "However, I am committed to transparency. I have decided to waive the protection provided by the court so the public can understand the process that went into the policy decision not to implement an Obamacare exchange or Medicaid expansion, both of which would be unsustainable costs to the state and bad public policy."

On the website, The Lost Ogle's Patrick Riley said he had not had time to review the records or gather his thoughts on the records release.

"This has the feeling of a victory - hell, we did get the records released - but the manner in which they were released, the timing of it, and the steps we had to take to get them, shows the fight for open records fairness in this state is far from over, and somewhat defeats the purpose of the Open Records Act," Riley wrote. …

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