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          Front Page  news  state

Weh Sues State Over Redacted Denish Files

By Sean Olson
Journal Staff Writer
          Republican Allen Weh's governor campaign filed a request for an injunction in state District Court on Tuesday, alleging the state Department of Finance and Administration is illegally redacting portions of public documents from Lt. Gov. Diane Denish's office.
        Denish's campaign spokesman, Chris Cervini, said the request for injunction was a "frivolous lawsuit and political stunt that will likely cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars."
        Weh filed a request in November to examine financial information relating to a $225,000 appropriation to Denish's office as part of the federal Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act in 2003.
        Weh said Tuesday that the DFA was "stonewalling" and taking out large amounts of pertinent information when responding to his campaign's request for documents.
        "There is no legal basis for the redaction or alteration of these documents," Weh said.
        Nicole Gillespie, DFA spokeswoman, said her department could not comment now that it has become a legal matter. However, in a March 8 letter to Weh, Gillespie said the DFA was complying with all state laws.
        "At the outset, DFA affirmatively states that it is not 'altering' or 'misplacing' any public records requested by Mr. Weh. DFA is only redacting information that is either not a 'public record' under the Inspection of Public Records Act ... or information that was not requested by Mr. Weh," Gillespie wrote.
        Weh included Denish's office in the request for an injunction, alleging she was partly responsible for the redacted and "missing" documents in the request.
        Weh's campaign manager, Whitney Cheshire, said Denish should be held responsible because the DFA is part of the same administration as Denish. However, Denish's office has no authority over the DFA, which reports directly to the governor.
        Denish's office, in a letter to the Weh campaign on Jan. 29, admitted culpability in "inadvertently" delaying sending the information request to the DFA for about a month, but said it otherwise complied with the request.

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