LouisianaVoice needs your support—moral and financial—now more than ever.
The trial on our lawsuit against the Division of Administration begins on Monday (May 4) as we try to hold the administration accountable on the production of public records so that we may keep you informed on events as they take place.
Unfortunately, this administration is trying to see to it—deliberately, we are convinced, that we are not able to provide vital information about the machinations of your state government in a timely manner.
We have already told you about the records request we submitted simultaneously with an identical request by the House Legislative Service Office. The legislature got its records—the same ones we requested—within 10 days; we didn’t get ours until three months later and then only after we filed our lawsuit.
The Division of Administration (DOA) is currently sitting on another request or ours. We again made simultaneously requests of DOA and an office under DOA. The office in question responded with the records within three days or our request. It’s been nearly two weeks and we’re still waiting for DOA to comply.
This is the battle we fight almost daily with the Jindal administration—and they have said in their response to our lawsuit that they do not deliberately delay complying with our requests, that they do not single us out for delay.
That simply does not square with what a former DOA employee told us: DOA routinely gets our requested records and simply stacks them in a corner for weeks at a time before notifying us that we may inspect them.
DOA has—and continues to—open defy us in violation of the state’s public records laws (R.S. 44:1 et seq.).
But even more absurd, in its response to our petition, DOA claims that I have not suffered monetary loss, so the court should not assess damages against the state. That is in direct contradiction to the statute which sets fines of $100 per day for non-compliance. Period. The statute makes no mention of any requirement that the one requesting the records suffer monetary loss as a prerequisite for the assessment of a fine.
Were it not for quick access to the legislature’s public records (which are readily available, with no delay tactics or word games) by LouisianaVoice, that $55,000-a-year retirement pay raise for State Police Col. Mike Edmonson would have gone through.
Were it not for acquisition of public records from the Department of Education (in another, successful lawsuit) by LouisianaVoice, private records of hundreds of thousands of Louisiana public school students would have been made available to Rupert Murdoch of Fox News.
This is what we do.
And it costs money and untold hours of dogged research.
To continue our legal fight, we need your help.
If we win on Monday, DOA is certain to appeal.
If DOA wins, we most certainly will appeal. They believe they can starve us out with legal costs but we won’t back down.
Either way, the costs are going to continue to climb from what we’ve already laid out in expenses.
Please click on the button (not here, but near the top right part of our web page) to donate by credit card.
If you prefer to mail checks or money orders, please make payable to:
Capitol News Service/LouisianaVoice
P.O. Box 922
Denham Springs, LA. 70727
Whichever way you choose to contribute, your help in our fight to make state government more transparent and accountable is both needed and appreciated.
Tom Aswell, editor