That’s what has happened here in North Carolina, where my former employer, the John Locke Foundation (and its publication, Carolina Journal), have joined forces with several state media outlets to sue Gov. Mike Easley over the destruction of public records. The unusual development came after The News & Observer of Raleigh, owned by McClatchy (as is the state’s largest newspaper, The Charlotte Observer), published a series of stories about the state’s mental health reform that reflected very poorly on Easley. As the stories rolled out, someone in the governor’s office (there is an internal dispute over just who made the call) fired the spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human Services, Debbie Crane, over some advice she gave to the former secretary of her agency about speaking to The N&O.
Crane’s firing led her to divulge to the newspaper that the Easley administration had ordered all emails from the governor’s office to various agencies to be deleted. Easley’s flacks denied this was the case, but records obtained later proved Crane’s claims to be true. She also told The N&O that public information officers were told not to return calls (scroll down at link) from the Locke Foundation.
Hence the lawsuit in which advocates of transparent government team to force the governor to stop hiding what he’s doing.
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