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Reply #5: that's not the issue [View All]

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TorchTheWitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-23-03 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. that's not the issue
Will it become mandatory for state's to open sealed records of people running for higher office? Isn't this stepping on state's rights?

That's not the issue. The issue is that the reason that Dean sealed the records by invoking executive privilege is invalid according to Vermont law.
This action seeks Defendants' compliance with the Vermont Access to Public Records Act, 1 V.S.A. 315 to 320. Defendants have steadfastly refused to disclose hundreds of thousands of pages of public records and papers of former Vermont Governor and current United States presidential candidate, Dr. Howard Dean, based solely on an unsupported, blanket claim of "executive privilege" as memorialized in a "Memorandum of Understanding" that Dr. Dean negotiated with the other Defendants. However, some five months before officially announcing his candidacy for president, Dr. Dean acknowledged (on Vermont Public Radio) that this secrecy is motivated by "future political considerations" and the desire to prevent "anything embarrassing appearing in the papers at a critical time in any future endeavor." This is not a legitimate basis for refusing to release public documents.


Vermont's Access to Public Records Act declares: "Officers of government are trustees and servants of the people and it is in the public interest to enable any person to review and criticize their decisions even though such examination may cause inconvenience or embarrassment." 1 V.S.A. 315. The Act permits "ny person" to "inspect or copy any public record or document...." 1 V.S.A. 316.


There is no Vermont statute or other law that authorizes a governor (or anyone else, for that matter) to enter into a "Memorandum of Understanding" as a means of preventing public review of a governor's official correspondence.
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