The emails [PDF; 57 pages]
January 28 invoice [PDF; 7 pages]
February 27 invoice [PDF; 6 pages]
March 30 invoice [PDF; 4 pages]
>>> As Governor of Indiana, Vice President-elect Mike Pence has been fighting the full release of official emails and other documents. This has been the subject of widespread reports in the news media, but until now, no one had posted the material that's been released so far (the files above).
The short version is that a labor attorney made a public-records request for some emails and legal invoices from Indiana's Office of the Governor. Pence turned over most of the emails but blacked out one entirely and refused to release the most important email attachment. He also released the legal invoices but in heavily redacted form. The original requester/attorney sued for full release but lost in court. The case is now in appeals court, where Pence's lawyers continue to fight against transparency.
For the slightly longer version, The Washington Post summed up the basics:
In 2014, Indiana joined 16 other states in suing the federal government to overturn President Obama's executive order shielding about 4 million illegal immigrants from deportation. These include children who entered the country undocumented with their parents and adults whose children are either U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. The order directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to prioritize deporting felons.
The lawsuit, which was spearheaded by Texas and filed in December 2014, argued that Obama's action was an overreach of his authority.
Normally, a state's attorney general's office represents government officials and agencies in legal matters. In this case, the Indiana attorney general's office opted to not be involved. The governor's office then hired Barnes & Thornburg LLP, one of the major law firms in Indiana, on the taxpayers' dime.
[Democratic labor attorney William Groth] told The Post that he was concerned about taxpayer dollars being spent on the litigation, so he submitted a public records request in December 2014, asking for all communications between Pence and the state attorney general's office about his decision to join the lawsuit, the contract between Pence's office and the private law firm, and invoices that show how much the litigation costs.
Pence released most of those materials, with some crucial exceptions. The invoices from the law firms are heavily redacted. The body of one email is totally blacked out, and, most crucial, an email from the Texas Attorney General's office was released without its attachment: a white paper revealing Texas' legal strategy in the lawsuit against the Obama Administration.
Groth filed a lawsuit to force the release of these withholdings. He lost the first round, and the case is now in appeals court. Pence's lawyers are arguing that the courts have no right to second-guess the governor's decision to withhold government documents. If that's true, then 50 years of extensive FOIA litigation - and the whole concept of checks and balances - is in total error.
The Memory Hole 2 filed a piggyback request (under Indiana's Access to Public Records Act) on Groth's request, which resulted in these documents being released to us.
"Mike Pence has his own email controversy in Indiana" [Washington Post]
"What's Mike Pence hiding in his emails?" [Indianapolis Daily Star]
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The Email Missing the Attachment
Part of One Law-Services Invoice
Cover Letter Responding to My Request