Ferguson Officials Taking Cue From Sarah Palin By Demanding High Fees For Public Records

Sarah-Palin-at-Podium

On Monday, the Associated Press ran a story detailing the efforts Ferguson government officials have taken to discourage media outlets from obtaining files from the city that are supposed to be legally available under public record laws. The AP stated that Ferguson billed AP $135 an hour for 16 hours of work to provide the news organization with copies of email accounts. This is roughly ten times as much as an entry-level city government employee’s hourly wage. Other media groups have also claimed that the town has demanded high fees from them to comply with requests through freedom of information laws.

This is obviously a tactic the community’s administration is taking in order to intimidate and deter the press, especially independent media outlets, from obtaining information relating to Michael Brown’s death and the police department’s handling of it and the protests that have occurred in its aftermath. The author of the article, Jack Gillum, pointed out that price-gouging is a way for government organizations to get around sunshine laws when it comes to releasing public records.

Price-gouging for government files is one way that local, state and federal agencies have responded to requests for potentially embarrassing information they may not want released. Open records laws are designed to give the public access to government records at little or no cost, and have historically exposed waste, wrongdoing and corruption.

The article also compared a similar instance to what Ferguson is doing right now with the media. During the 2008 general election, Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s office initially charged an Alaskan newspaper thousands of dollars to provide emails from Palin, who was then Governor of Alaska.

Other governments also have demanded spectacular fees. During the 2008 presidential campaign, for instance, news organizations asked for emails belonging to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential nominee.

The Anchorage Press said officials at first wanted $6,500 in search fees, leading the newspaper to withdraw its request. Thousands of pages of those emails were ultimately provided to news organizations for about $725 in copying charges.

City, state or national governments are only going to charge high fees for ‘processing’ open records requests if they want to discourage news organizations from finding the truth. With Palin, she didn’t want the truth to come out on Troopergate or the Bridge to Nowhere, among other things. As for Ferguson, they want to hide their own incompetence regarding Brown’s death, potentially damaging emails and communications from Darren Wilson (Brown’s killer) and other police officers and the long history of racial disparity that the city has allowed to occur.

As the AP reported, those who work for the city have merely deflected questions regarding the high fees and lack of transparency to others, or flat out just refused to respond to media requests for comment. In the end, it seems very telling that Ferguson’s government is taking its cues from Palin. Like the so-called ‘Mama Grizzly,’ they have a lot to to hide and be embarrassed about.

If you’re ready to read more from the unbossed and unbought Politicus team, sign up for our newsletter here!

7 Replies to “Ferguson Officials Taking Cue From Sarah Palin By Demanding High Fees For Public Records”

  1. Quite frankly, I don’t know who is running things in Ferguson, but they have got to be the most tone deaf people on the freaking planet.

  2. Hopefully there is one person in that corrupt government who has some decency and release the records. I also been waiting 50 years for the Cubs to win a pennant. So I wouldn’t hold my breath

  3. Grand Jury to review Darren Wilson’s drug bust
    The drug bust that earned Darren Wilson his special commendation may go up in smoke because Wilson won’t testify. Wilson failed to show up for the preliminary hearing today. Now the case is going to be presented to the grand jury — the same grand jury that’s handling the Michael Brown case — and Wilson’s attorney says Wilson has no plans to appear for the drug case, so it will likely be tossed.

    Drug case that won Darren Wilson an award at risk

    Perhaps Wilson doesn’t want the grand jury to ask about the suspect’s version of events, which is that Wilson “beat my ass in my front yard while I was handcuffed then gave me 6 felonies.”
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/09/29/1333221/-Grand-Jury-to-review-Darren-Wilson-s-drug-bust

  4. In one sense, Darren Wilson has done the county a favor. His actions have exposed the appalling human rights abuses of so many Southern states and cities. The cruel, vicious, anti-American and downright unlawful actions of the authorities in Ferguson are already sparking exposes of similar behavior in other places. They’ve started an opposition movement that is bound to grow. They aren’t gonna be happy with the results.

  5. Sorry Dj I have come to the conclusion that just being rethug you are corrupt and you have no such thing as decency.
    I am not surprised by anything these people do or say. I expect only ugly selfish actions from them and have no respect for even one of them. Name one rethug that has decency, honesty, and lives by the words THEY say they believe . Namely the Bible! Start with the first book. Chapter 2 verse7. Which tells when life begins, yet, the rethugs never seem to take this to heart. Still demand everyone believe as they do. convert or be killed!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.