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Oklahoma judge to rule Friday on open records request

Gov. Mary Fallin withheld 31 documents from media on “executive privilege” and other grounds.
by Nolan Clay Published: June 13, 2014

An Oklahoma County judge said she will rule Friday on whether Gov. Mary Fallin must make public 31 more documents about a 2011 decision involving Obamacare.

District Judge Barbara Swinton heard arguments Thursday both for and against release of the documents. However she rules, an appeal is likely.

Fallin in 2011 rejected a $54 million federal grant that would have paid for the creation of an online exchange, or marketplace, in Oklahoma for purchasing private health insurance plans.

She did so after opposition surfaced to establishing the exchange, one of the key components to the new federal health care law known as Obamacare.

Fallin in March 2012 released more than 51,000 pages of documents about her decision in response to requests from The Oklahoman, The Associated Press and other news organizations.

She withheld 31 documents totaling 100 pages. Her general counsel claimed those pages were exempt from the state Open Records Act on the grounds of executive privilege, deliberative process privilege and attorney-client privilege.

Last year, The Lost Ogle, a satirical online news site, sued the governor, asking the judge to order the immediate release of the rest of the documents. Representing The Lost Ogle is the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma.

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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