Government Transparency Website Catches Kim Davis Refusing To Do Her Job Again (SCREENSHOTS)

It seems that along with her religious convictions, Kim Davis also has “deeply held beliefs” about complying with open records requests. Specifically, she seems to be of the opinion that the Kentucky Open Records Act’s requirement that agencies comply with a requestor’s wishes that documents be provided in their original format is open to interpretation…or that it can be ignored entirely.

The KORA makes it crystal clear that,upon the payment of a reasonable fee, an agency — like Davis’ office — “must” provide documents (like emails) in electronic format if they are available. Unfortunately, the government transparency and news web site MuckRock has been encountering some difficulties as Davis herself is being quite, quite, difficult about their request for her emails.

In fact, it seems as though Davis is intentionally adding unnecessary costs to the fulfillment of the request by insisting that she print, copy, and mail the emails rather than forward them. “As a public employee, Kim Davis’s emails are subject to the Kentucky Open Records Act (KORA),” MuckRock’s Shawn Musgrave wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.  “A couple days before Davis was jailed for contempt of court, I requested all of her emails from the past month. When news of her visit to the Vatican embassy broke, I submitted additional requests for emails with papal keywords.”

While Davis herself responded rather promptly to the request, Davis cited a $1,200 price tag for the more than 6,000 emails that have piled up in her inbox. While Davis is absolutely entitled to charge reasonable fees for the time and work involved in fulfilling requests, Musgrave notes that “more than half of that fee estimate was for photocopies and postage.”

Davis insists that, while she can furnish Musgrave with her emails,  “considerable time and paper” will be consumed during the processing of the request. Davis estimates 40 hours of labor at $12.50 per hour to “print all emails,” as well as 10 cents per copy and an additional $100 in postage. Obviously, as digital files that require no conversion are being requested, most of this is unnecessary.

Despite her obvious ability to utilize email in the course of doing her job, Davis says that the fee can not be cut down by sending the emails in digital format because she does “not have the means to transfer electronic [sic].”

In addition, Davis lied about whether or not she was in possession of any emails containing the keywords “Pope” or “Vatican” or anything related to her meeting with the Pope. Initially, Davis claimed that “there are no emails containing any of the keywords you have requested,” but ultimately admitted she had “2 emails sent to my email from non-supporters.”

Musgrave asked for those emails and, once again, Davis refused to provide them in their original format because “I am old school on this email stuff” — though she did offer to waive the $3 fee associated with having them printed and faxed.

“I emailed back that I preferred these two emails to be forwarded along, rather than printed out and faxed, and that Kentucky statutes support my right to documents in their original format,” Musgrave writes, but Davis refused to comply with her duties under the law.

At this point, Davis became much more difficult to work with. She reminded Musgrave that she is not required to honor emailed open records requests in the first place, and that she could, if she so chooses, force him to submit his request via snail mail or fax. She informed Musgrave that if he persisted in expecting her to do her job properly, she would require him to resubmit the request via fax, and would reinstate the fee she already committed to waiving.

“The Kentucky attorney general’s office has, indeed, determined that agencies need not ‘honor’ requests for records that are submitted by email. But that’s a wholly separate matter,” Musgrave notes,adding that no matter how she requires requests to be submitted, “Kentucky law allows me to ask Kim’s office for records in their original format” — a requirement she feels is an “indulgence, rather than an obligation.”

“Where such a best practice is also a legal requirement, a particular official’s orientation away from same-format provision is irrelevant to her obligation,” Musgrave writes, promising to “continue to assert my rights under Kentucky law to obtain emails as emails, not as faxes.”

Davis’ refusal to follow the law is a blatant attempt to force Musgrave to waste unnecessary money in obtaining documents he has every right to request under state law. Unfortunately, her “old fashioned” approach to emails matches the Rowan County Clerk’s antiquated views on same-sex marriage. In both cases, she refuses to follow her duties under the law, needlessly frustrating those who expect her to perform her obligations.

Some may have argued that Davis’ “moral” argument that she should not have to follow the law was isolated to one single issue — gay marriage. Those people would have been morons, but they could have also said it was reasonable for her to deprive others of their rights under the law. But this demonstrates that the Right’s precious bigot simply does not care about the law at all.

At this point, as her disdain for her duties is not limited to a single issue, it would be irresponsible not to remove Davis from her position. After all, who knows what other laws she might choose to break?


Featured Image via USNews