Friday, March 03, 2017

What's in Karen Pence's Emails as Indiana's First Lady?
Last month, after reading how Karen Pence has long served as her husband Vice President Mike Pence's closest and most trusted adviser, I filed a public records request with the current Indiana governor's office for all of her emails.
She served as the Hoosier State's First Lady from January 2013 up to January 2017 and used government infrastructure, electronic communication, during this time creating public records.
The governor's public info officer claims I need to narrow my request and they allege "merely requests" that I amend my request, yet rejected my argument that there's no legal basis to not start a search for specified records. They've also not provided me a figure for how many emails were retained by Karen Pence. Crucial and necessary info, IMHO.
Today I filed a new request. Just for two months of her emails. Restricting the time period should be less of a burden for the state. I'll let you know how Indiana respond when I hear from them. The written exchange thus far:
Sent: Tue, Feb 14, 2017 3:49 pm
Dear Mr. Petrelis:

This correspondence is in regard to your request for the following:

1. All emails sent or received, on any topic, by First Lady Karen Pence from January 1, 2013 through January 20, 2017.

Upon further review, the Governor’s Office has identified certain legal deficiencies in your request.  As required by APRA, a request for public records must be made with reasonable particularity.[1]  Though “reasonable particularity” is not defined under APRA, Indiana’s Public Access Counselor (“PAC”) has advised that a reasonably particular request will include the sender, recipient, date range of no more than six months, and key search terms.[2]  To be clear, the Governor’s Office is not denying your request; to the contrary, this office merely requests that it be amended to satisfy basic legal requirements.

Upon receipt of your amended request, the Governor’s Office will commence identifying and gathering all responsive records, and subsequently produce to you such records that are not confidential, deliberative or otherwise subject to withholding under Indiana law. [snip] We appreciate your patience as we work to complete your request.

Cynthia V. Carrasco
Deputy General Counsel
Office of Indiana Governor Holcomb


Sent: Fri, Feb 17, 2017 2:39 pm
Hi Cynthia,

I contend that my request is very specific and particular, clearly identifying known public records for a defined period.

As you may know, in the matter of Secretary Hillary Clinton's emails from the State Department, FOIA requests were made for any and all of her emails and eventually released to the public.

While the federal FOIA has no application in Indiana, I would hope the precedent with Clinton's emails would serve as guiding best practice for your agency.

Further, you state reasonable particularity is not define in state law and the PAC has issued only guidance, which is not legally binding.

I am requesting that you at least determine the number of emails in question pertaining to Mrs Karen Pence. Let's learn what that number is, please.

Also, if need be, I can submit the same request but in six-month chunks of time if that will produce a search and eventually responsive records released to me.

Your thoughts?



Sent: Wed, Feb 22, 2017 3:02 pm
Mr. Petrelis,

I am in receipt of your emails dated 2/17 and 2/21.  As indicated in my previous communication to you, we are not denying your request, but Indiana law requires that requests for public records be made with reasonable particularity as explained previously.  We look forward to receiving your amended request that complies with state law at which time we will proceed to process it.

Thank you,
Cynthia V. Carrasco


Sent: Fri, Mar 3, 2017 2:39 pm

Dear Cynthia Carrasco

This is a public records request for copies of all emails sent or received by Karen Pence from January 1 through February 28, 2013, along with a request for the number of all sent emails and numbers received for this time.

My hope is that this short period will allow you to began a search for relevant records.

I wish to receive all responsive public records in digital format via email, if possible.

Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Please confirm receipt of this request by the close of business today. Thanks.

Michael Petrelis

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