Republican fishing expedition strikes out UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Republican fishing expedition strikes out UPDATE

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 7:16 AM

THE REPUBLICAN CATCH: Lots of paper signifying nothing. They havent even bothered to pick it up.
  • THE REPUBLICAN CATCH: Lots of paper signifying nothing. They haven't even bothered to pick it up.

Another chapter in the story of Arkansas Republican Party retaliation against those who would make Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin look bad by shining the light on his misjudgments.

Here, it's about the retaliatory action the RPA took against two state employees, Matt Campbell and Jeff Woodmansee, for associations with the Blue Hog Report, a blog that, through Campbell, had made (focused) FOI requests to Martin's office. The blog is now shut down. Campbell, who works at the Supreme Court, may or may not return to the fray. Woodmansee works in the UALR Law Library and had made only scant contributions to Blue Hog Report. But Republicans nonetheless made an all-inclusive FOI request May 26, in the person of Chase Dugger, for anything ever generated by Woodmansee at the law school. You can imagine how much correspondence a librarian generates. It took three weeks of work and review of thousands of pages of e-mails to comply.

Woodmansee was accused of nothing, by the way. The Republicans had not a shred of proof he'd ever done any political writing on state time. They just went fishing in hopes of punishing him.

Assembling all the papers was a huge project. Reviewing them was as well. There were more than 6,000 student-faculty-work emails, for example.

The work finally was done June 16 and produced some 5,000 pages of emails and many other requested documents. The next day, Dugger was informed by UA counsel that the material was ready. The UA proposed a bargain copying charge between $50 and $100, a sharp contrast to the confiscatory rate charged by the secretary of state to me and others. The UA also offered to let Dugger see the material for free, an offer Martin refused to extend to my FOI requests. If I wanted to see documents, I had to pay for them.

It's been almost two weeks. The papers languish. Dugger, who met with Secretary of State Mark Martin's office (not Martin himself, as I originally wrote) the day before he unleashed his document bombs on the Supreme Court (also a dry hole) and the law school, hasn't come to review the documents produced by UA or otherwise responded to notice that the material was available. I haven't reviewed it, but I believe Woodmansee when he says it's all unremarkable.

This was never about a legitimate request for information. It was a publicity stunt to get a critical blog shut down. Sadly, it worked. But the GOP hypocrisy in crying abuse of Mark Martin while they pursued much worse shouldn't pass without notice.

Woodmansee? He's doing fine. He'll be promoted July 1 to a position on the law school faculty, as an assistant professor of law librarianship. He comments to me:

"What was so disheartening about all of this was that, despite never actually being accused of any wrongdoing by the ARGOP or never having served any FOIA requests on the Secretary of State's office or any other Republican-held office, I was still being targeted. I hated to see law school colleagues and university officials burdened with such a time-consuming task that I knew would be a waste of everyone's time."

UPDATE: A Republican Party spokesman says: "Chase Dugger was out of the office last week. We fully expect to pick up and pay for our request." She added that the notice of material faxed June 17 wasn't noticed until June 20. Dugger is in the office this week, but he says the UA lawyer he'd been dealing with has been out of the office by way of explanation why the paper have not yet been picked up. (I think if the matter was of great urgency an alternate could have picked up these papers, since they are now a matter of public record available to anyone who asks.)

Tags: , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (34)

Showing 1-34 of 34

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-34 of 34

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Giuliani in the bullpen for Sessions?

    When Donald Trump starts tweeting about "beleaguered" Attorney General Jeff Sessions it adds credence to reports that Trump is looking to replace him with Rudy Giuliani.
    • Jul 24, 2017
  • Jared Kushner: Nothing to see here. But it helps obscure health legislation.

    Jared Kushner, Donald Trump's son-in-law, has prepared a statement detailing four meetings with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition and he asserts nothing improper occurred. I'd rather talk about health care.
    • Jul 24, 2017
  • A night out: Beer and bullets

    A late night shooting in the Fayetteville entertainment district brings a reminder of the legislature's recent expansion of gun law.
    • Jul 24, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Super Bowl line

    Over to you.
    • Feb 7, 2016
  • City Board votes to table homeless feeding ordinance for 8 weeks, study with commission

    The Little Rock Board of Directors voted tonight to table for eight weeks an ordinance that homeless advocates say would severely limit the ability of charities to feed homeless people in city parks. Before the ordinance was punted, Vice Mayor Kathy Webb proposed a nine-member commission to study the issue and make recommendations to the board.
    • May 16, 2017
  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016

People who saved…

Most Shared

  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation