Broad reach of Virginia’s ‘working papers’ exemption unique among open records laws

Top Virginia officials frequently rely on an alternative to one of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s alleged methods of secrecy: Rather than use private emails, governors, university presidents and others hide behind state law.

The former secretary of state and presumptive Democratic presidential front-runner stepped into a thicket last week over her use of a private account to conduct official business. If she were the elected leader of Virginia or the top executive at one of the state’s public universities, it wouldn’t have mattered.

A gaping hole in Virginia’s open records law allows a wide range of public officials — including the governor, the attorney general, mayors and public university presidents — to withhold documents, including emails, under a so-called “working papers” exemption. Continue>>>