Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Richardson Says He's Only "Following the Law"

Former Gov. Bill Richardson was at the Capitol earlier this evening doing an interview on CNBC. I  stopped him outside of the Capitol television studio and asked him about sealing his records for eight years.

“I’m following the law,” he said. “It’s been tradition. Gov. (Gary) Johnson sealed his records for eight years. And I’m complying with the law. ... Every other governor has sealed his records. And I’m doing the same.”

He continued,  “ ... I think it’s important to protect the confidentiality of conversations in the Governor’s Office. I’m complying with the law. I shouldn’t be singled out."

Interest in Richardson’s documents by the state news media has been high due to federal investigations involving the state’s investment practices and other financial matters.

Richardson was referring to a state law that says, “The state records administrator may accept and place in the state archives the personal files, records and documents of elected state officials or of former elected state officials, subject to any reasonable restrictions, moratoriums and requirements concerning their use by other persons.”

The law, which has been in effect since 1967, does not require the sealing of records for eight years.

Sarah Welsh, executive director of New Mexico Foundation for Open Government on Wednesday argued that the state should only be allowed to seal documents that are “personal.”

Here's her letter to the state Records Center and Archives — which was CCed to the offices of Gov. Susana Martinez’s records custodian and the Attorney General’s Civil Division.

FOG Letter Feb2 2011