Spitzer emails ruled public records

Good ruling the other day by a New York judge who held that former AG Elliott Spitzer could not shield emails from disclosure under New York's Freedom of Information Law (FOI-L) simply by sending and receiving them on a private email account.

From The New York Post:

A judge has ordered the release of Eliot Spitzer’s trove of missives from a private e-mail account that he used as New York attorney general to conduct official business in secret.


State Supreme Court Justice Christopher Cahill in Albany ordered the attorney general’s office to release Spitzer’s private e-mails. A copy of the order, issued two weeks ago to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, was obtained by The Post.

Apparently Spitzer routinely used private email accounts to conduct public business in a cynical attempt to keep the documents secret. I am linking (below) to the New York Post account of the ruling because theirs is the only one of the media accounts I've seen regarding the ruling that reported it correctly.

All the other reports seemed to be saying that Spitzer's "private emails" were being made public. But the New York Post (and Supreme Court Judge Christopher Cahill) got it right.

Public business conducted on personal or provide email accounts, or on personal computer equipment, should still be considered public records.

Perhaps, I am picking a picayunish nit with regard to the media reports. But its's a pretty important principle.

The subject came up during one of the panels during NFOIC's recent FOI Summit in Madison, WI.

— Kenneth F. Bunting, executive director, NFOIC