The Norman Transcript

Opinion

December 25, 2012

Governor’s correspondencea matter of public record

NORMAN — Gov. Mary Fallin has asked for examples of transparency among her various government agencies.

It’s an attempt to validate her withholding of e-mails requested by news organizations pertaining to the correspondence regarding her decision to reject federal money to create the required federal health care exchange.

The governor, with the help of legal counsel, is reviewing hundreds of records and will determine which ones will be open for review and which ones will be considered privileged.

Such secrecy is surprising, given the governor’s pledge of transparency in her administration. It also goes against a 2009 Attorney General’s opinion that says “e-mails, text messages, and other electronic communications made or received in connection with the transaction of public business or the administration of public property are subject to the Oklahoma Open Records Act.”

The governor’s flip-flop on the health care exchange, and the rejection of a Medicaid expansion, are major policy decisions that will impact Oklahomans for many years to come.

When record requests are denied, the public suspects the holder of those documents has something to hide. We hope the new year brings more openness and transparency to the governor’s administration.

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