For Immediate Release:
September 21, 2016
Washington, D.C – This week, the Superior Court of Washington County, Vermont denied an effort by the state’s Attorney General to dismiss an open records lawsuit filed by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute. E&E Legal was compelled to file this suit when it received no cooperation on a request for records relating to an effort, jointly organized by Vermont AG William Sorrell with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, to investigate and pursue parties who oppose their position on “climate change” and related policies.
The Attorney General’s office claimed the Court lacked jurisdiction because the AG had not officially denied the request, even though the deadline had passed and the AG had denied an appeal, all while claiming it “wasn’t ripe” and that E&E Legal had no recourse but to continue waiting. The Vermont AG also abandoned its position maintained to date, in explaining its failure to process E&E Legal’s request, that it could outsource processing of records to a consultant and charge E&E Legal many more times the statutorily permitted rate. This waiting game is now a commonplace among the colluding AGs in their political coalition first exposed by an April records production, ironically from the Vermont AG’s office.
The blowback from those initial revelations was followed by Vermont and other offices slow-walking and even stonewalling further requests, as the necessity for this very litigation suggests. Indeed, the same day of last Thursday’s hearing, E&E Legal was forced to sue Vermont’s AG on two more requests being improperly denied.
“Various AGs have been stonewalling us to different extents for months, yet we received the records within hours after the Court issued its ruling denying the AG’s Motion to Dismiss,” said Craig Richardson, E&E Legal Executive Director. “The AG has shown a reluctance of late to comply with Vermont law unless a court orders him to, suggesting a greater obligation in that office to the New York AG than the citizens of the Green Mountain State who are paying for his increasingly political operation.”
The Court rejected AG Sorrell’s position in this first case, stating that “otherwise a recalcitrant agency could simply unilaterally delay the deadline and the requester would have no recourse, whereas the