CfA Demands that Liberty Counsel Immediately Release Documents Responsive to Its Open Records Request

Photo: Timothy D. Easley/AP

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 6, 2016

Contact: Daniel Stevens, dstevens@campaignforaccountability.org, 202.780.5750

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA) sent a letter to Liberty Counsel, a religious-right group representing Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, seeking the release of documents responsive to its open records request.  Yesterday, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear issued an opinion concluding Ms. Davis had violated Kentucky’s Open Records Act by failing to provide his office with records she claimed were exempt from disclosure to help in his independent review.

Read the letter here.

CfA Executive Director Anne Weismann said, “As an elected official, Kim Davis has a duty to uphold the laws of Kentucky and the country. Once again, however, Kim Davis has violated the law, aided by Liberty Counsel, a national group that appears to be using Ms. Davis to promote an anti-LGBT agenda. The requested documents that Ms. Davis must now disclose will shed light on the nature of Ms. Davis’ relationship with Liberty Counsel.”

In March, CfA requested that Ms. Davis release public records concerning her relationship with Liberty Counsel, which is acting as her counsel in this and other matters.  Specifically, CfA requested copies of all retainer agreements, attorney-client engagement agreements, all documents that evidence or reflect an attorney-client relationship between Ms. Davis and Liberty Counsel, and copies of all documents that authorized Ms. Davis to enter into an attorney-client relationship with an outside entity, such as Liberty Counsel.  CfA is interested in the actions of Liberty Counsel, which has recently inserted itself into several anti-LGBT debates by offering to represent public officials for free.

Liberty Counsel responded for Ms. Davis and initially refused to honor CfA’s open records request, claiming several legal exemptions.  Liberty Counsel also incorrectly claimed the documents in question were private and did not constitute public records.

CfA appealed this response to Kentucky Attorney General Beshear.  He determined that although Ms. Davis did not violate the Open Records Act in responding to a request through private counsel, she did violate the Act by failing to produce records for his in camera or private review that she claimed were exempt under the Open Records Act.  From this, Attorney General Beshear concluded she had failed to meet her burden of proving the exemptions apply.

CfA is now requesting that Ms. Davis abide by the law and immediately release the documents responsive to its original open records request.

CfA is nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.