Lawsuit Seeks Sununu Staff Emails With National Redistricting Group | New Hampshire Public Radio

Lawsuit Seeks Sununu Staff Emails With National Redistricting Group

Sep 2, 2020

Gov. Chris Sununu
Credit Dan Tuohy | NHPR

Lawyers for the state and a liberal activist who's seeking emails from Gov. Chris Sununu's administration staff were before a Merrimack County judge Wednesday.

The case could clarify the governor's obligations to adhere to state right-to-know provisions.

The state's lawyer, Jennifer Ramsey, argued that the emails in question were sent on private accounts, and therefore should be judged as permitted private political activity, not official state actions.

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But Ramsey also acknowledged the emails sent before and after Sununu vetoed a 2019 bill to create an independent redistricting commission walk the line.

"This gets fuzzy, I'll be candid," she said.

The plaintiff in this case is Louise Spencer of the progressive group Kent Street Coalition. She says the emails with the National Republican Redistricting Trust, a group led by former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, should be disclosed.

Spencer's lawyer is Katherine Anthony, who works for the government watchdog group American Oversight.

It's just difficult to understand how those do not fall within the definition of governmental records," Anthony said.

New Hampshire governors have long asserted they are exempt from the state's right-to-know law. The state constitution says the public's right of access to governmental records shall not be unreasonably restricted.