We’ve been heartened by the support we received since Friday, when Attorney General Jeff Landry filed suit against our reporter, Andrea Gallo, for submitting a public records request to his office.
Gallo is seeking to get to the bottom of a sexual harassment case that has roiled Landry’s office. And based on his reaction, the case seems to have roiled Landry too.
Louisiana citizens have a right to see public records, and it’s written into the state Constitution.
Journalists file lots of public records requests, but so do average citizens who have a grievance with their elected officials.
But taxpayers who file requests deserve better than to be sued by the public officials that serve them.
Landry’s suit against Gallo concludes with a six-item “prayer for relief.”
Chiefly, Landry asks the court to determine that Gallo is not entitled to see the original complaint filed in the matter against the head of the attorney general’s Criminal Division, Pat Magee. He also asks that the record be sealed.
The fifth of the six prayers is a request that the court “Cast the Defendant with all costs of these proceedings.”
In other words, Landry asks the court to make Gallo pay the legal costs of his lawsuit.
The suit is not just an attack on Gallo, it is a warning to any taxpayer who might challenge any elected official.
After the suit was filed, people asked us what they could do to help, and to support open government.
Monday, our Publisher, Judi Terzotis, our Editor, Peter Kovacs, and the Chairman of Georges Media, Dan Shea, filed the same public records request as Gallo.
You can join in too by filing your own public records request with Jeff Landry and showing him that he needs to tell the taxpayers the truth about what happened in his office.
Go to this link, create an account and file a request: https://louisianaag.mycusthelp.com/WEBAPP/_rs/(S(holhfgldwdaoksslvcih5vnh))/supporthome.aspx
Go to the homepage for the AG’s office https://www.ag.state.la.us/ and click “public records” – on the far right side of the middle of the screen.
There is a dropdown box that asks you to choose the division from which you are requesting records. You can pick criminal (which is the division Magee heads) or executive, since he is a member of the executive staff.
You will also be asked to select a date range. You can ask for all documents since Jan. 1, 2020.
In the field which asks you to specify what records you seek, you can use the same language as Gallo’s request:
-Any and all complaints of sexual harassment related to Patrick Magee
-Any records showing how those complaints were handled, including any records of investigations, as well as any disciplinary memos, orders to seek counseling, suspensions, resignations or terminations.
-Records of any settlements paid in connection with any such complaints.