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When public emails go private

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By Hal Rhodes

Last week, Gov. Susana Martinez issued an edict declaring, henceforth, members of her administration would no longer use their private email systems to transact official business of the state.
 Martinez reportedly said even she would abide by her new directive.
The day following Martinez’s directive, news broke that her former corrections secretary, Lupe Martinez, had given an affidavit stipulating that the governor’s chief of staff actually instructed that private emails be used to circumvent requests for public records.
Conducting public business by means of private email accounts has been a source of controversy for Martinez from almost the beginning.
The prevailing legal view holds that the personal emails of public officials are not subject to a state law permitting private individuals and groups to request access to public documents.
In other words, if a government official is up to mischief and would rather not have news organizations or watchdog outfits poking around, that official can simply use his/her personal email account to transact the skullduggery, thereby avoiding the inconvenience of outside scrutiny.


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