While we wait for the Super Tuesday results I want to give you a thought about a “what if.”
The mayoral race in Hampton currently has two candidates: current Mayor Molly Ward and Councilman Donnie Tuck. A PAC recently submitted a FOIA request for emails from Councilman Tuck. What is unusual about this particular request is the group wants the city email as well as the councilman’s personal email, requesting “Any and all electronic transmissions (email), from yourself or received by you, from the date of your announcement as a candidate for Mayor of the City of Hampton (November 12, 2011).” FOIA is allowed for getting access to correspondence related to public business, but not personal correspondence nor campaign correspondence.
Last year Governor McDonnell considered removing the FOIA advisory board but thankfully ended up saving it. This board issues advice on FOIA requests before you have to pay to go to court. It is used by public officials, media and citizens to request advice on if a request has been denied or if an offical is required to hand over information. Also, the Virginia Coalition for Open Goverment gives information, forms and tracks court decisions regarding FOIA requests in Virginia. Both are good resources for all Virginians.
However, this lead to my thought: what if one candidate could request all correspondence of another candidate’s campaign? According to FOIA rules, the only people who could be FOIA’d for relevant information would be current officials. Therefore, Mitt Romney could request all info from Congressman Ron Paul but not vice versa. Also all GOP candidates could FOIA President Obama’s campaign plans but President Obama would only be able to ask for Congressman Ron Paul’s campaign information.
Just something random to think about while waiting for the polls to close today. I plan to vote today. I hope other people will also.