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Another editorial condemns secrecy over legislative documents

Another day, another editorial condemning the efforts of legislative leaders to claim “immunity” when it comes to disclosing documents related to their passage last year of the “monster” voter suppression law.

This is from this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer:

“Now their actions are all the more suspicious because they are hiding from public disclosure. They’re saying they don’t have to give up the emails and other documents they generated as part of their public actions because they’re protected by ‘legislative immunity.’

Their court documents get more insulting. Lawmakers, they said, should be ‘free from arrest or civil process for what they do in legislative proceedings’ and their immunity frees them ‘not only from the consequences of litigation, it also frees them from the burden of defending themselves.’

Immunity’s real purpose is to ensure that legislators engaged in vigorous debate aren’t restricted by the constant threat of lawsuits filed by other lawmakers. We shall see in court, presumably, whether a judge will determine that the protections extend to documents created on the public’s dime that influenced the creation of legislation.

In this case, those documents might validate the suspicions of many North Carolina residents and the groups that represent them that GOP lawmakers did not set out to improve the election system and make things more efficient. The documents may show an intent to make it more difficult for Democrat-leaning African-Americans, college students or elderly residents to vote.

If such is not the case, these requested documents would prove it, so the resistance of GOP lawmakers and leaders to releasing communications pertaining to this issue is suspicious indeed. What are they afraid of? What is it that they do not want the people to see?”

The whole thing is somewhat reminiscent of Richard Nixon’s unsuccessful attempt to claim “executive privilege” during the Watergate crisis. Let’s hope this attempt at burying the truth is similarly unsuccessful.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/01/30/3578345/gop-legislators-should-release.html#storylink=cpy

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