A Superior Court judge said Wednesday he likely will not dismiss a lawsuit against Governor Pat McCrory, the North Carolina Highway Patrol and the Department of Public Safety over transportation records.
Real Facts NC, a non-profit that conducts research, sponsors educational events, and disseminates information about issues facing the state, filed the lawsuit in September over lack of response to a public records request for McCrory’s travel records.
In Wake County Superior Court on Wednesday, the Real Facts attorneys Daniel Johnson and Michael Weisel told Judge Allen Baddour that they had received some redacted travel records but did not believe they had all of them.
Attorney Dickson Phillips, who represented McCrory and the DPS, argued that the public records request had been fulfilled to the best of the governor’s office’s knowledge and the suit should be dismissed. Any alleged missing records were because the travel was deemed personal or political and therefore was not considered public record, he said.
Johnson said Phillips was misinterpreting the state’s “robust” public records law in an attempt to create a broad exemption. He added that taxpayers needed a way to ensure McCrory or his campaign was reimbursing the state for travel unrelated to official business.
“If what they were to propose became law, (the governor’s office) would be shielded from public scrutiny,” Johnson said.
He also argued that the documents the governor’s office turned over should not be so heavily redacted and should show arrival and departure locations for trips that don’t outline a pattern in McCrory’s routine.
Baddour told the attorneys he would take their arguments under advisement and issue a ruling on a later date.