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NEW: Kilmartin slams ACLU for “one-sided” view of APRA enforcement

Thursday, February 21, 2013

 

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin has responded to criticism from the ACLU for his office's "lack of enforcement" of violations of the state's Access to Public Records Act.

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin has just responded to a report released today by the RI branch of the ACLU criticizing his office for a lack of enforcement regarding violations to the state’s Access to Public Records (APRA) laws.

“The Attorney General is neither concerned nor troubled by the myopic, one-sided view of the ACLU,” Kilmartin spokesperson Amy Kempe said. “The fact is that Attorney General Kilmartin recognized the statutory limitations of the Office and therefore sponsored the recent changes to APRA statute, something the ACLU had been unable to accomplish for many, many years.”

Kempe said it is “ironic” that the ACLU would criticize the Attorney General's office when the organization has gone to the General Assembly in the past to have the AG’s office train public bodies on the APRA statue.

“Rather than selectively criticize the Office, the ACLU should be applauding the Office for its past efforts, the fact that all opinions are available to the public, the proactive measures the Office takes in educating and training public officials on how to comply with the APRA and the OMA, and its initiative in making substantive amendments to the statute,” Kempe said.

Kempe said the Attorney General's office looks at the facts surrounding each case and “applies a legal standard” when reviewing APRA matters.

“In contrast, the ACLU determines the conclusion and then distorts the facts to fit that conclusion,” she said. “If the Office of Attorney General used the same standards as the ACLU when bringing forth criminal charges, I am sure the ACLU would be the first to object and issue a report.”

Kempe  concluded that she believes the report “is part of a broader strategy by the ACLU where they will self-validate a yet-to-be-seen proposal.”

 

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