In response to numerous public records requests, the Office of the Governor on Tuesday, Sept. 8, released 5,000 emails (more than 18,000 pages) from the State of Oregon’s archives of the firstname.lastname@example.org email account, an account former Gov. John Kitzhaber used for state business during his time in office.
The release of these emails partially fulfills a number of outstanding public records requests; the Office of the Governor continues to review the more than 12,000 emails from this account, and it will produce additional emails in the near future. The email@example.com email address also used by former Governor Kitzhaber is presently the subject of litigation; emails from this account are not included in this production.
As has been widely reported, former Governor Kitzhaber did not use a state-provided email address upon taking office in January 2011. Instead, he used the firstname.lastname@example.org account to conduct state business. Beginning in early August 2011, the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) began storing emails sent to or from this account by having all emails automatically forwarded to a “dummy” account, email@example.com.
Prior to August 2011, DAS state servers stored firstname.lastname@example.org emails only if they included a Governor’s Office employee. Today’s production includes only those emails stored on state servers, and therefore does not include all emails to or from the account prior to August 2011. Former Governor Kitzhaber’s legal counsel has been notified of the lack of archiving for this time period, and has committed to producing public records from that email account from that time frame to the Governor’s Office. Those records will be reviewed upon receipt by the Governor’s Office, and will be released as part of the additional productions from this account.
Some emails subject to this public records review are being withheld or are being produced with redactions due to statutory exemptions that exist in Oregon’s public records laws. Some reviewed documents were withheld or redacted pursuant to one or more of the following statutory exemptions: ORS 192.496(1) (information about an individual’s physical health); 192.501(22) (log-in information for conference calls); 192.501(23) (information that would reveal security measures taken to protect the governor); 192.502(1) (internal advisory communications); 192.502(2) (information of a personal nature); 192.502(4) (information submitted to the Governor’s Office in confidence); 192.502(9) (which incorporates the privilege for attorney-client confidential communications); and/or ORS 192.410(4) (does not meet the definition of a public record).