Saturday, October 17, 2015

NJ Watchdog: Court examines state's role in public record requests

Friend or foe? Court examines state's role in public record requests

Gov. Chris Christie and New Jersey Watchdog will battle in appeals court Thursday in a case that could change how the state cooperates with citizens who ask for public records.

Under Christie, the state Open Public Records Act often resembles a shell game. The governor’s office can reject requests without really explaining why. Requestors must choose whether to walk away or bet on an appeals process that’s often lengthy and potentially costly.

In its appeal, New Jersey Watchdog is asking a higher court to hold government officials to a higher standard.

“The government is not allowed to be sneaky,” argued its attorney, Donald M. Doherty Jr. “It must be above board in all of its dealings. In dealing with the public, the government must ‘turn square corners.’”

The story is online at

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