Newspapers sue Calif. Legislature for financial documents

Monday, August 8, 2011

Two California newspapers are suing the California Legislature to compel access to legislative financial records, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The newspapers, the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee, filed the lawsuit Aug. 5 in Sacramento County Superior Court under California’s Legislative Open Records Act.

State Assembly officials denied requests for lawmakers’ office budgets and spending records, claiming such documents constituted “preliminary drafts, notes or legislative memoranda” and “correspondence of and to individual members of the Legislature and their staff” — categories of records exempt from disclosure.

But Jim Ewert of the California Newspaper Publishers Association says he doubts the records sought fall into those exemptions.

“I fail to see how [the exemptions] apply to some of the most basic types of information that the public should have — and that is financial information about how government works,” Ewert told the Times.

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