by Max Brantley
What a combo: Jim Parsons and Oscar Stilley. Not too surprising that Mike Huckabee is beating them in court.
The case raised again, though, an interesting point that would be worth litigating by somebody who knew what they were doing. The governor's lawyer takes the time-honored position that any paper that passes through the governor's office is a "working paper" of the governor and thus exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. The issue has never been squarely addressed by the Arkansas Supreme Court. Courts in other states have said "working papers" are words with specific meaning and do not constitute a blanket exemption. For example, once a decision is made, no work is being done any longer. Such documents can provide an interesting look at how decisions might have been reached. Are papers of staff members the governor's "working papers" or just the govenror's own papers? These are worthy questions, expensive to litigate, and wasted on the Parsons-Stilley comedy hour.
But here's a free tip to Jim and Oscar: How about asking the Huckabee people for his lieutenant governor papers? The working papers exemption does not cover the lieutenant governor's office. More free advice: An attorney general's opinion to that effect by Winston Bryant years ago should help frame the argument.
ELSEWHERE: Condi Rice says Huckabee's criticism of Bush foreign policy as a bunker mentality is "ludicrous."
AND ALSO: Daily Kos notes Huckabee's outrage at the destruction of interrogation tapes. What kind of public servant would destroy records of the peformance of important public jobs? Hard drives, anyone?