Engel and Martin, LLC has filed a pubic records lawsuit on behalf of the blog Plunderbund Media against the Ohio Department of Education. The lawsuit seeks to compel the disclosure of public records stored in the private email account of a former state employee.
Plunderbund has been active in seeking records concerning the Ohio Charter School Scandal. The Department of Education employee responsible for monitoring charter schools, who also included false data in a $71 million grant application to the federal Education Department, used a private gmail account for state business.
Plunderbund has requested the records stored on the private gmail account. The Department of Education has not complied. A Memo. filed with the Complaint states:
[The Employee] and the Department of Education are not the first to seek to avoid their responsibility for public records through the use of private email accounts for public business. Hillary Clinton, most notably, used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials have acknowledged. This, some suggest, allowed Secretary Clinton to avoid scrutiny under the federal Freedom of Information Act. See New York Times, Using Private Email, Hillary Clinton Thwarted Record Requests, March 3, 2015. The Department of Education has evaded the Ohio Public Records laws and kept the public in the dark through the creation of an “off-grid” record system, which was used by Hansen to conduct official government business and communicate with state employees and others.
Plunder bund has previously reported on others in the Kasich administration using a private email account to conduct state business.
Read the Plunderbund Mandamus Complaint