We’re suing the Governor’s Office. I guess that means we’re no longer “obscure.”
1:10 PM EDT on April 10, 2013
Yesterday, our friends at the ACLU filed a lawsuit on our behalf against Governor Mary Fallin and the Governor's Office. In it, we demand that Governor Fallin release all emails related to our open records request from December of 2012. Here's a snippet from a press release issued by the ACLU:
The Governor’s Office released a large number of documents on March 29, but it withheld thirty-one records at the direction of Steve Mullins, the Governor’s General Counsel. Mullins has cited “executive privilege,” a doctrine that has never been part of Oklahoma law, to argue that the Governor can legally conceal public records at her choosing. His assertion has received nearly universal condemnation from freedom of information experts and advocates for government transparency.
“Mr. Mullins has repeatedly told the press and the people of Oklahoma that Fallin’s privileged position entitles her to disregard parts of the Oklahoma Open Records Act,” said Brady Henderson, Legal Director of ACLU of Oklahoma, “in other words, that as Governor, she is above the law.”
Oklahoma’s current Open Records Act was enacted in 1985. It requires records created or maintained at public expense to be open to public inspection so that citizens may obtain free information about their government. In the law’s nearly thirty-year history, no prior governor or other executive official has claimed any type of executive privilege against complying with its requirement of free access. “Mary Fallin is the first Governor of Oklahoma to challenge the people’s right to be fully informed about their government,” Henderson said, “we filed this lawsuit to make sure she also will be the last.”
I would tell you a little more about why we're doing this, but since litigation is pending, the ACLU Legal Team has advised that I not discuss or write about the situation. Just kidding. I've always wanted to write a statement like that. It makes this thing seem extra-serious.
Anyway, the ACLU news release was picked up by several news organizations, including the AP, Fox 25 and, get this, the Oklahoman. Check out the intro to Zeke Campfield's article in the Joke. According to Steve Lackmeyer, Zeke ignited this Open Records Request House Party while rescuing puppies from a house fire started by sexual predators.
An online blog known for its satirical jabs at Oklahoma media and political leaders is now taking on the governor's office.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Oklahoma County District Court, Edmond-based Vandelay Entertainment — parent company to The Lost Ogle website — asked Gov. Mary Fallin to release 31 emails and documents that her office has declined to provide for public review.
The lawsuit was signed by Patrick Riley, publisher of The Lost Ogle, and Brady Henderson, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma.
Yep, you read that correctly. The Lost Ogle is owned by an LLC named Vandelay Entertainment. On the advice of my attorneys, I created and transferred the ownership rights of TLO to Vandelay Entertainment several years ago. I went with the name because Vandelay Industries was already taken. It narrowly beat out Kramerica, Pendant Publishing and the Penske File. It's a good thing I wasn't an Arrested Development fan at the time or I may have gone with Gobais Industries.
Anyway, it's always weird to see The Lost Ogle referenced in the newspaper that we all love to hate. The only other times they've done this is when we broke the Jessica Alba shark attack and debunked Skip Bayless' claims of high school sports stardom. Also, I'm glad Zeke clarified that we're an online blog. I'd hate for people to get us confused with an offline printed blog, or even just a website.
At least Zeke didn't totally rip out and break our hearts like Mike McCarville. Check out what the ammo-hoarder had to say about the lawsuit:
The Lost Ogle, a social blog, is pursuing Governor Fallin for her refusal to release 31 emails totaling about 100 pages of deliberations about her decision to opt out of Obamacare.
Yep, Mike McCarville referred to us as only "a social blog." That's more depressing than this thing.
Although Steve Lackmeyer claims it was created by Zeke Campfield, Mike McCarville inadvertently came up with our unofficial slogan – an obscure local social blog – back in May of 2008 when we pointed out that Sally Kern's son is a non-gay celibate single musician who practices metaphysics:
Garbage In, Garbage Out Part II: No Apologies To Sally Kern's Son From Gay, Liberal Bloggers For False Claims
Gay and liberal bloggers who participated last week in untrue, savage attacks on the son of Rep. Sally Kern have yet to apologize to him despite his own assertion he's not gay and proof that a 1989 court document does not involve him.
In fact, The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund has continued the attack, with some posters ridiculing Jesse Kern's assertion he's not gay and belittling posters who try to set the record straight. The PerezHilton blog, a haven for liberal thought laced with obscenities, hasn't apologized either. Nor has the Democrats of Oklahoma Community Forum, which first made the erroneous assertion, or The Lost Ogle, an obscure local social blog that picked the "story" up from the PerezHilton blog and seems to consider the attack on Jesse Kern as nothing of concern. The Democrats of Oklahoma Community Forum did, at least, acknowledge the person named in the 1989 document is another Jesse Kern and not Sally Kern's son.
I always liked the "obscure local social blog" label. It's sad to see it go. It was an easy reminder for us (and you) to not take what we do too seriously. But now that we've grown in popularity, occasionally break legitimate news stories, and do things like sue the Governor because our state's legitimate media is too scared to do so, maybe it is time to find a new slogan and / or stop taking ourselves seriously. I wouldn't be opposed to either. Of course, another option is to quit this blogging thing and just start importing and exporting fine latex goods. That does kind of sound fun. Does anyone want to be my latex salesman?