Has the Public Records Runaround Begun?
On July 27, we requested e-mails from Governor Jay Nixon’s office that pertained to the China Hub/Aerotropolis legislation. Specifically, we requested
access to and a copy of all e-mails sent to, from, and within the governor’s office containing the words “aerotropolis” or “china” since May 1, 2011. I also request all e-mails referencing legislation related to aerotropolis or the china hub. I also request any and all emails or correspondence from or to Speaker Steven Tilley or one of his representatives regarding the possibility of a special session, including any discussion of legislators calling a special session independently of the governor.
In a letter dated July 27, the governor’s deputy counsel informed us that it would take 14 business days — about three weeks — to determine “the approximate time needed to complete processing” and the estimated cost of getting the information. Last week we were informed it would take an additional 30 days to receive these e-mails, meaning we would not receive the requested information until late September — well after the special session has begun — or if it’s in fact 30 business days, well into October.
If this sounds familiar, it should. From just two weeks ago…
We reported yesterday on the National Center for Beef Excellence’s Beef Study That Wasn’t, and last night KMOV reporter Andre Hepkins, who’s been covering the NCBE “meat feasibility” story since last week, sent along this latest development concerning the Beef Center’s elusive meat report:
KMOV’s Craig Cheatham is having his own devil of a time getting China Hub documents, and this part in particular jumped out at me. (Emphasis mine)
On Thursday, the day after the Hub Commission insisted that I refile the request under the Missouri Sunshine Law, I interviewed Mike Jones, the group’s Chairman. Jones admitted that it was his decision to make me refile the request. I told him it was an “abuse” of the process, and that any request for information must receive the same attention as one identified as a “Sunshine” request. He disagreed and stands by his decision.
And now we hear from Cheatham,
Throw in that our most recent request for information from the China Hub has been referred to the Hub’s lawyers, and all of the sudden, we have the makings of a major problem. Are government record holders trying to run out the clock?