First, let me thank you for writing. Citizen participation is important to this process, and I’m glad you took the time to make your views known.
Second, there is not much that can be done to satisfy your requests or demands or whatever they are. More on that in a moment.
Third, I intend to move forward with legislation to prevent a re-occurrence of some of the problematic behavior that has arisen from the mess commonly called Troopergate. That legislation will define more closely what is a public document and seek to prevent public officials from shielding their communications by using private email accounts, and the state from stifling public access by charging an arm and a leg.
Now, back to point 2. To review your demands:
- Censure the governor. There is, in fact, no formal censure motion available to the legislature. In our dealings with the executive branch, we have two tools: the budget and impeachment. We could, I suppose, pass a resolution telling the governor she done bad, which would be worth about as much as the paper it is written on. And I have to tell you that such a resolution would be unlikely to pass. Legislators would be reluctant to make the governor mad for a gesture.
- Seek contempt charges against the governor’s husband and state officials who ignored subpoenas. Again, we have no contempt-of-the-Legislature powers. We’d have to go to court. Since the Senate Judiciary Committee did not go to court to enforce the subpoenas, I doubt the courts could find those who ignored the subpoenas in contempt. Again, I suppose we could pass a resolution, but I don’t think there’s much more we could do.
- Hold hearings to see if the governor committed perjury in the statements to the Personnel Board’s lawyer. The legislature is not an arm of either the executive or the judiciary. I doubt we could get the appropriate parties – the Personnel Board and Mr. Petumenos – to act on a perjury claim, or that we have standing to ask the court system to do so.
- Call for an independent investigation of the attorney general in re: witness tampering. I believe it is Rep. Les Gara who raised the witness tampering issue, so you should be in touch with him to see what, if anything, is happening on that front.
Something more may happen on any and all of these fronts once the legislature convenes. But I believe the new Senate President, Gary Stevens, has said the Senate is prepared to do nothing more on these issues. The House could act alone on resolutions, but I doubt the Republican majority is willing to act against a woman who could be their party’s presidential nominee in four years.
That’s where it stands at the moment. Again, thanks for writing."