Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples, violated the Open Records Act, according to the state’s attorney general.
The opinion found that Davis, the Rowan County clerk, and her attorneys with Liberty Counsel improperly refused to turn over public records requested in March by the nonprofit Campaign for Accountability, reported the Courier-Journal.
The Liberty Counsel rejected the records requests as improper for a variety of reasons, such as attorney-client privilege and legal exceptions from preliminary documents.
The nonprofit legal activist group also refused to turn over those documents to the attorney general’s office for review.
Davis did not violate the state’s Open Records Act by having her private attorneys respond to the records request, but she did violate the statute by refusing to allow the Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office to inspect the documents.
“An agency cannot benefit from intentionally frustrating the attorney general’s review of an open records request,” said Assistant Attorney General Matt Jones. “Such result would subvert the General Assembly’s intent behind providing review by the attorney general.”
Mat Staver, the founder and chairman of the religious conservative Liberty Counsel, said he never had a problem providing the contents of the documents, but he wanted to make sure no information was revealed that was protected by attorney-client privilege.
He didn’t expect to file an appeal and said he would turn over the contested documents.
Anne Weismann, executive director of the Campaign for Accountability, praised the attorney general’s findings and said her group had requested the records to learn more about the elected clerk’s relationship with the anti-LGBT activist group.
“I think the Attorney General was right to call them on completely flouting the law,” Weisman said.
She said government officials should not allow their representation by private attorney interfere with their responsibility to the government.
Davis and Liberty Counsel could be required under the Open Records Act to pay attorney fees for the Campaign for Accountability, as well as up to $25 a day for each day they denied access to the documents.
Davis has asked the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to dismiss her appeal of lawsuits and a contempt finding from last year’s battle over marriage licenses in Rowan County, saying that recent changes by the state’s legislature had reduced the visibility of clerks’ names on marriage licenses.