Transparency News, 9/10/21


September 10, 2021 follow us on TwitterFacebook & Instagram


state & local news stories

  Leaders of the state commission formed to investigate Virginia Beach's 2019 mass shooting hope to address any "gaps" that may be identified in other probes into the tragedy when they issue their final report sometime next year. Nearly half a dozen speakers addressed the commission during the meeting Thursday. Most have spoken out before, often repeating unsubstantiated or disproven claims about what happened. However, the commission also accepted an anonymous letter written by a group calling themselves the "5/31 Virginia Beach Building 2 Stronger Together Peer Group." 10 On Your Side was able to independently confirm the group is made up of employees of the city who were inside Building 2 the day of the shooting and worked for the most affected departments. The commission's first report on their progress is due to the General Assembly by Nov. 1.
  stories from around the country   The chief of the Capitol Police and its top intelligence officer personally approved permits for six demonstrations to be held on Jan. 6, 2021, despite signs that one of the applications was filed for an organization that didn't exist and that five of them were a proxy for a group staging large, violent protests across the country. The six closely guarded permits, along with intelligence assessments about the organizations, were obtained by BuzzFeed News. They shed new light on what Capitol Police knew about threats to the Capitol leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection and provide rare insight into the operations of the Capitol Police, which, as an arm of Congress, is not subject to Freedom of Information laws. The release of the documents also marks a significant victory for BuzzFeed News, which filed a lawsuit last February after the Capitol Police declined a request for the permits. Attorney Jeffrey Light cited the “common law right of access” to public records, which maintains that the public has a basic right to review the records of its government that are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. The Capitol Police opted not to fight the case. “To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time that a lawsuit brought under the common law right of access has been successful as applied to a congressional agency,” Light said. “Forcing the government’s hand in this case is important because it shows that the right of access to congressional records is not just theoretical. We now have a concrete example of a type of document for which Congress recognized it can’t defend secrecy in court.”
BuzzFeed News

An unusual scheduled closed-door Delaware House Ethics Committee meeting is leaving Delawareans with more questions than answers. The five-member panel chaired by House Majority Leader Rep. Val Longhurst (D-Bear) is slated to meet Friday at 11 a.m. in House Room H104 of Legislative Hall in Dover, but the reason why is delivered in one obscure sentence. "Discuss executive business before the committee." John Flaherty of the Delaware Coalition for Open Government called this vague description for a closed-door meeting unacceptable under the Freedom of Information Act. "You can't just say 'we're going into executive session,' which is what they did, as an agenda they have to say specifically what is the topic of this meeting."