Senate says lawmakers not subject to public record laws

Attorney Kory Langhofer said the Public Records Act does not apply to private companies.

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services 

Senate President Karen Fann is taking the position that Arizona courts cannot force her or any other member of the Arizona Legislature to comply with the state’s Public Records Act.

In a new court filing, attorney Kory Langhofer who represents the Prescott Republican and the entire Senate, is asking Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael Kemp to throw out a claim by a self-described nonpartisan watchdog group to get access to all documents and materials related to the Senate’s audit of the 2020 election results.

Langhofer said the Senate has or will produce documents in its possession. Ditto with those in the possession of Ken Bennett who was tapped by Fann to be her liaison with Cyber Ninjas, the private company hired to conduct the audit.

The only exception, Langhofer said, are those which are protected as privileged or confidential.

He said, though, what American Oversight wants are documents that are in the hands of Cyber Ninjas or other companies it has, in turn, hired as subcontractors.

Langhofer said the Public Records Act does not apply to private companies. And he rejected arguments by attorney Roopali Desai that the records are public because the only reason Cyber Ninjas got the materials in the first place was because they were subpoenaed by the Senate.

But Langhofer has a backup legal argument just in case the judge does not read the scope of the Public Records Act as narrowly as he does. He told Kemp he has no jurisdiction in the fight.

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