In an ongoing story that has attracted lots of attention in New Jersey, Gov. Corzine is arguing that emails he exchanged with former girlfriend and labor leader Carla Katz are not subject to disclosure under New Jersey’s open records law.
The main thrust of his argument is that the content of the emails is either private, in some cases, or in others, falls under executive privilege.
The emails were sent and received using government equipment.
Some government agencies are moving toward providing government employees and officeholders with regular notification that the emails they send and receive on government servers are not private, regardless of the content of the email. Of course, it depends on the open records laws of the state in question.
Nebraska, for example, says that any record “in possession” of a government agency is public, regardless of how that document came into the possession of the agency or what it says.
Apart from the political interest of this case in New Jersey, the fact that it has moved into court and that both sides have deep pockets means that some judge will ultimately rule in a way that will illuminate for government employees whether anything they say in an email, in New Jersey, is ultimately public, or whether there are some limits to that.
Some New Jersey blogs are getting in on the discussion: