The penchant for secrecy is spreading. The state Game and Fish Commission has denied our FOI request for its documents on the altercation between former U.S. Marshal Ray Carnahan and a wildlife officer. That altercation led to Carnahan’s departure from the marshal’s job and an investigation, its results not yet announced, by the U.S. attorney for the western district of Arkansas.
A spokesman for Game and Fish says the state agency has no investigation open on the case. But it claims it cannot release anything because of the pending federal investigation. We disagree. The matter has gone to the attorney general’s office for an opinion. The exemption cited by G&FC applies to “undisclosed investigations by law enforcement agencies of suspected criminal activities.” G&F documents do not relate to an investigation because they have none ongoing. And, in fact, the federal investigation has been disclosed. And, again, just because a record might be exempt doesn’t mean it SHALL be exempt. Game and Fish should bend over backwards to disclose matters that bear on conduct of law enforcement officials — theirs and others. Readers on this blog who are friends of Carnahan think he’s getting a raw deal. Let’s see the underlying reports.