Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sealing the Governor's Records

As I reported in today's New Mexican, former Gov. Bill Richardson handed over his office's records to the State Records Center and Archives -- under one condition -- that for the next eight years (!) only four people would have access or be able to grant access to the documents — Richardson himself; his chief of staff, Brian Condit; general counsel Justin Miller; and scheduler Janis Hartley.

Boy, I wish I would have thought of  this concept when I was in high school. "Sorry Mom, my report card is sealed for the next eight years."

The lawyer representing whistleblower Frank Foy, Victor Marshall had the following comment about my story: "The State Archivist has no legal authority to seal government records - not for 8 years or 8 hours. The archives can only restrict personal records that are donated by a public official, like a childhood scrapbook. But certainly not records that were kept at taxpayer expense by public employees. "

Marshall for the past two years has been frustrated in his attempts to get certain records from the Richardson Administration having to do with Foy's case. Foy is a former investment officer for the state teachers pension fund who filed a lawsuit claiming political pressure was behind some state investments. Here's some old posts about that suit.

UPDATE 2:42 p.m.: Here's a copy of the state law cited by the state archives to deny release of the Richardson documents. (Scroll down to the very bottom. It's 14-4-11.) Click the Full Screen option for your visual comfort.