On April 5, shortly after HB 2 passed, The Charlotte Observer filed a public records request for emails sent or received by Governor McCrory or his staff that “included, but was not limited to, email exchanges with legislators, administration officials, companies, and Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina staff.”
The paper never got those records; last week, it sued.
This isn’t the first time Team McCrory has been accused to ignoring the state’s open-records law. Last year, the INDY, The Charlotte Observer, The News & Observer, and other media outlets sued the McCrory administration, alleging that state agencies failed to produce public documents in a timely manneror at all.
But this latest case serves as yet another indication of the administration’s cavalier disregard for transparency. Instead of answering records requests, McCrory’s minions often choose to ignore them until threatened with legal action.
We know that all too well. One example: on April 25, the INDY sent a records request to both McCrory and Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, asking for communications related to HB 2. Forest supplied his emails in June. McCrory? We’re still waiting. And those aren’t the only records the gov’s office would rather keep hidden from public view.
Here is a list of our pending, unanswered public records requests, all of which we are entitled to by law.
March 28, 2016: All correspondence between March 23 and March 26 related to the drafting of the governor’s HB 2 “Myths vs. Facts” press release.
April 25, 2016: All emails from Governor McCrory and chief of staff Thomas Stith between March 14 and March 25 related to the special session and/or HB 2, as well as all emails between February 1 and March 25 from McCrory or Stith related to the Charlotte ordinance.
May 9, 2016: All correspondence between the governor’s staff and CNN, NBC, MSNBC, Fox News, CBS, and ABC employees related to appearances and potential appearances to discuss HB 2 between March 15 and May 9.
June 7, 2016: All communications between McCrory and his scheduler, Meredith McCullen-Steadman.
June 7, 2016: All communications between McCrory or First Lady Ann McCrory and Ann McCrory’s former chief of staff, Heather Dickson, while Dickson was a state employee.
July 15, 2016: All communications associated with the cancellation of Progress NC’s Garden Party Against Hate at the Executive Mansion on July 13.
August 9, 2016: All communications and emails between Department of Health and Human Services employees and the governor’s communications team between August 1 and August 9.
We’ll update this list periodically, if and when new requests are made or if old requests are answered. If past is prologue, most of these will probably be ignored in perpetuityat least without another lawsuit. Or maybe a new administration.