An opinion from the attorney general today reveals that the state Game and Fish Commission needs every bit of the do-right lawsuit that Sheffield Nelson has filed against them. Though they rolled over last week on releasing information about applications to be director, it turns out they were putting up a fight to keep secret information about commission travel expenses.
Game and Fish legal geniuses apparently first offered up the theory that travel expenses are "personnel records" and exempt from disclosure. Failing that laughable theory, they wanted to argue that records were too voluminous and, furthermore, that they include some information, such as Social Security numbers, that is exempt from disclosure.
Tough. Game and Fish can redact the exempt information and turn the info over. And, no, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has told them, they can't invent a punitive charge for doing redaction work that they created with their own stupid recordkeeping.
This is really mind-blowing. The Democrat-Gazette has been seeking these records. The Times will be down to take a look at the copies produced in response to this request as soon as they are ready. Given all the resistance being put up, I'd bet the princely fellows at Game and Fish will put legislators to shame with their travel and related expenses. (McDaniel's opinion mentions a state-purchased phone. That opens up a whole new line of inquiry.)