The Denver Post has sued Gov. Bill Ritter, following Ritter’s refusal to provide the Post with the 19 months of cellular phone records the newspaper had requested.
The Post wants to know who “Ritter has discussed state business with since taking office in 2007.”
Ritter, it is said, carries around two cell phones, one paid for by the state government and the other financed privately. The cell phone records in dispute are for the private cell. Ritter’s office says that handing over these records violates the gov’s privacy.
The newspaper says it is known that Ritter “regularly conducts state business” on the private line and:
“It is obvious that if any high ranking government executive may ‘privatize’ his conduct of public business by establishing a private account or dealing with private providers of communications technologies, it would allow government officials to unilaterally create a vast and unacceptable ‘loophole’ in the requirements” of the Colorado Open Records Act”.
Looking over the various blog reactions to this, sentiment is running in favor of Ritter’s right to privacy.
Looking at things from a national perspective, laws about what records governors do or don’t have to turn over are very different from state-to-state. This has led to a situation where governors in some states get taken to the woodshed for withholding records that in other states governors are legally entitled to withhold. There doesn’t seem to be any push in the states that require very little transparency from their governors to change those laws.