Letter America Dear Doctor Guy, My friend recently stopped taking my calls because I’m dating her ex-boyfriend, but they broke up like over two years ago. I don’t know what to do.—Helpless Hottie ... More
In a letter to Gov. Susana Martinez' office, New Mexico Assistant Attorney General Sally Malavé writes that the governor's office erred in failing to provide public documents in response to a request filed by SFR last summer. The letter says the governor's office may be liable for "up to $100 per day" since August, "the requested records or a denial letter...immediately."
The AG's letter comes in response to a complaint SFR filed last year, alleging that the governor's office had failed to provide public records in response to a request under the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act. The Albuquerque Journal published a story about the letter this morning.
SFR filed its initial request in June 2012, as a sort of test to see whether emails sent on private accounts, but that nonetheless pertained to public business, were considered public records. The emails SFR requested were already in the public domain. They related to a high-level termination in the New Mexico Corrections Department and an email sent by Public Education Department spokesman Larry Behrens providing the names of non-union teachers to Jay McCleskey, the governor's political adviser.
The question of whether public business, conducted over private email, is subject to public records requests has been a matter of serious debate over the past year.
The letter from the AG's office significantly clarifies this issue, stating:
"If e-mail is used to conduct public business, the e-mail is a public record, without regard to whether the e-mail is created or maintained on a public or private e-mail account."
The letter further states that the governor's office erred in failing to inform SFR that it had withheld certain emails when responding to the IPRA request.
Here's the AGO letter: