Delaware Public Media

Gov. Markell appeals AG ruling over records request denial

Jul 11, 2016

Gov. Jack Markell (D) is appealing an opinion from the attorney general that his office withheld documents related to a public records request from the state’s former embattled treasurer.

Chip Flowers, who was state treasurer from 2011 to 2014, asked Markell’s office to hand over any emails sent or received by the governor, his top staff or two cabinet members regarding Flowers, his former deputy and a state board.

The attorney general’s office ruled in March that the governor couldn’t withhold emails that would relate to Flowers’s records request just because a state lawmaker might’ve been included.

The General Assembly excluded itself and its staffers from government transparency laws when it expanded the Freedom of Information Act or FOIA in 2009.

In its filing, Markell’s office rejects that part of the AG’s opinion, saying, “Only the General Assembly, through the legislative process, may alter the scope of a Public Body's statutory FOIA obligations.”

But the opinion also backed up other reasons Markell’s office gave to hold on to emails or documents.

Flowers is challenging that in Superior Court as well.