July 7, 2010

Attorney General no fan of open-meeting laws

I urge you to take a look at Karen Gray's latest commentary, which systematically shows how carelessly our Attorney General enforces Nevada's open-meeting laws:

On the record, Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto is of course emphatically in favor of government officials obeying the state's open-meeting laws.

"What it comes to," she said in a recent interview, "is ensuring that the public has access to the information that their elected leaders are deliberating about within their communities. That's the goal here. That's the intent of the open-meeting law."

If Ms. Cortez Masto supports the state's open-meeting laws, why is her office dropping the ball when it comes to enforcement?

Worksheets released this month by Masto's office reveal that between 2007 and 2009 it exhausted one or both statutes of limitations for enforcement in 77 percent of the 89 complaints filed within one month of an alleged violation. Between 2007 and 2009, the percentage of violations grew from 25 percent in 2007 to 43 percent in 2008 and 2009.

Attorney General Cortez Masto appears to be just another politician saying one thing while doing another. If she truly supported Nevada's open-meeting laws and believed in transparency and accountability, she would be using the full force of her office to pursue and punish offenders.