Delaware Public Media

Justice Department: Gov. Markell might have skirted sunshine laws

Mar 15, 2016

The Delaware Attorney General's office says the Markell administration may have violated state transparency laws in withholding emails requested by former Treasurer Chip Flowers.

The opinion says governor's office may have kept back emails sent among his top officials regarding ex-State Treasurer Chip Flowers, his former deputy and the Cash Management Policy Board.

 

An archive dedicated to Flowers’ tenure in office requested the emails last March, but received a response saying that some emails fell outside the definition of public records. Lawmakers and staff working for the General Assembly are exempt from the state Freedom of Information Act, and Flowers says those were excluded from the request, regardless of context.

 

Chief Deputy Attorney General Danielle Gibbs wrote that “The Governor’s office has not persuaded us that doing so is proper.”

 

Gibbs’ ordered them to review any emails withheld – saying the content or the context of them are relevant.

 

She further asked the General Assembly to tailor disclosure laws to better clarify similar situations.

 

A bill including state lawmakers under FOIA was recently introduced in the House, but it’s not expected to gain much traction.