Transparency News, 5/17/2022



May 17, 2022

There will not be an issue of the newsletter tomorrow (May 18), the day of our conference. Look for updates on Facebook and Twitter



state & local news stories


Financial records show that Spotsylvania School Board Chair Kirk Twigg approved the use of school division funds to pay for two board members to attend a conference sponsored by a conservative political action committee. Twigg denied the requests of two other board members to attend professional learning conferences this year sponsored by the Virginia School Board Association, emails show. An April 27 purchase order obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request shows that Twigg approved spending $700 for Vice Chair April Gillespie and board member Lisa Phelps to attend the Virginia Education Summit, a conference held earlier this month and sponsored by the Middle Resolution political action committee. In March, Twigg denied a request by School Board member Dawn Shelley to attend the Virginia School Board Association’s Hot Topic conference on cybersecurity.  “No,” Twigg wrote on March 1 in response to Shelley’s request to attend. “If you have school board time available that day, please review policy or figure out ways to contribute efficiencies in our meeting process.”
The Free Lance-Star

Early African-American voter records now restored will allow future generations in Augusta County and Staunton to see original pieces of history. Augusta County Clerk of Circuit Court R. Steven Landes announced Monday that his office recently received 14 restored early Augusta County 20th century African-American Voting Registers, which are now in one volume, according to a press release. Due to a grant received from the Augusta County Genealogical Society, the records were able to be restored.
News Leader


editorials & columns


Our requests have been stymied by a legal tactic known as a “Glomar response.” What was once an exceptional tactic to protect heroic intelligence operations has since become a standard ploy to render FOIA meaningless. In the case of potential spying on Congress, some of the documents we seek are correspondence between intelligence agencies and members of Congress who believe they’ve been targeted. On what national security basis can the government categorically refuse to search for, and thus withhold, all correspondence with Congress? n our FOIA concerning spying on campaigns, the government asserts that the very act of searching for documents could jeopardize national security. Opening a file drawer to look for congressional correspondence is not, in fact, analogous to publicly revealing the existence of a super-secret vessel capable of bringing a Soviet nuclear submarine to the surface. Besides, how can the government know which files are classified and involve national security, and which can be released, without looking at them?
Mark Udall, The Hill