Former Gov. Eric Greitens’ spent taxpayer money to defend himself in a lawsuit alleging he and his staff used the self-destructing Confide app to to subvert Missouri’s open records laws. Read more: https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article234952897.html
As of September 1, 2019, the new law requires any public official who texts about public business now save the text messages for at least two years. The law applies to almost anyone who receives a public paycheck. The law does not differentiate between publically issued or private devices if the person is texting about public business. Read more: https://krld.radio.com/articles/news/texas-open-records-act-takes-effect-september-1st
Text message obtained in a public-records request under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act shows campaign contributions to the Arkansas State Auditor from a Texarkana attorney, his law firm, law partner and his daughter. Read more: https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2019/aug/19/lea-s-ties-to-law-firms-noted-in-retire/
Despite a judge's ruling that state law requires public records be kept for two years, the officials in Orange County have requested the approval to immediately delete text messages about government business...Read more: https://voiceofoc.org/2019/08/county-asks-court-to-let-it-keep-deleting-texts-about-government-business/
Oakland County Commissioner admitted to sending a text to her commission colleagues that said “Delete! Delete! Delete! Now.”
The County Commissioner in Oakland sent a text message to other commissioners instructing them to delete their texts evidently to cover up messages they sent while working on backroom deals to choose a successor to fill the empty county executive seat. Read more: https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/oakland/2019/08/12/l-brooks-patterson-commissioner-texting-foia-oakland-county/1993725001/
The mayor and the Fire Department chief texted back and forth over what the fire had done in a gated Ventura County neighborhood. The chief asked if the mayor wanted any specific home checked, and the mayor provided an address. Read more: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-08-09/woolsey-fire-mayor-garcetti-texts
Cedar City, UT City Council messaged about a city issue in a group text, then acknowledges it was technically a violation of the state’s Open and Public Meetings Act and reads the messages to make them officially part of the public record.
Read more: https://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2019/08/01/jmr-redmen-to-stay-on-cedar-citys-water-tank-council-members-come-clean-about-group-texts/#.XU1tNSNKiUl
Reporter Mark Greenburg sites data showing "that SUSD Governing Board members Barbara Perleberg, Sandy Kravetz, Pam Kirby and Kim Hartmann exchanged more than 1,890 sequential text messages and phone calls from 4/11/18 through 12/31/18, conducting board meetings via text and telephone, away from the prying eyes of voters, and exchanged text messages with each other during 2018 Governing Board meetings." The text messaging continued into 2019.
Read more: https://www.scottsdaleindependent.com/opinions/greenburg-my-scottsdale-school-board-investigation-findings/
Current Scottsdale school board member, Jann-Michael Greenburg, has asked the Arizona Attorney General's office to investigate whether the former board violated Arizona's Open Meeting Law. Read more: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/scottsdale-education/2019/07/18/arizona-attorney-general-office-investigates-scottsdale-school-board-over-private-meetings/1740476001/
Council Members from Lafayette City-Parish in Louisiana 'skirted,' 'disregarded' Open Meetings law according to AG
According to an assistant state attorney general multiple Council members violated Louisiana's open meetings law by discussing how to get the votes needed to adopt a change in the local government charter over text messages.
Read more: https://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/local/2019/07/19/lafayette-council-members-accused-violating-open-meetings-laws/1778700001/
Read about the importance of preserving information on mobile devices in the recent Illinois State Bar Association article, "Lost Text Messages Lead to Sanctions" by George Bellas.
Former Atlanta Mayor's Press Secretary Facing criminal Charges for Alleged Failure to Comply with Georgia’s Open Records
Jenna Garland is facing criminal charges for alleged failure to comply with Georgia’s open records law. She faces two misdemeanor charges, but they represent the first time in Georgia history that any public official has been criminally charged under the state’s open records law. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/08/us/georgia-open-records-jenna-garland.html
Read what happened when The Inquirer requested text messages and emails related to government business during March on government-issued or personal accounts: https://www.inquirer.com/news/pennsylvania-open-records-emails-texts-wolf-kenney-mcblain-fetterman-20190626.html
Raydient contends that the county neglected to retain text messages, as part of a strategy to obscure conduct. The messages were regarding 24,000 acres the company would like to develop. Read more: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/299651-raydient-charges-nassau-county-with-pattern-of-sunshine-law-breaches
The two activists filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Cincinnati on Monday, claiming they were unknowingly caught up in the political fight over Cincinnati City Council ‘Gang of Five' text messages. They say the city exposed private information about their lives. Read more: https://www.wcpo.com/news/local-news/i-team/two-john-doe-democrats-sue-cincinnati-over-gang-of-five-texts-in-federal-court
Two journalists made an Open Records request to the Open Records Office at the University of Oklahoma to recover information about some staff members who had organized opposition to a local economic development project and haven't received the records to date. Read more: http://city-sentinel.com/2019/06/after-nine-months-university-of-oklahoma-has-not-answered-open-records-request/
Michigan's former Gov. Rick Snyder's cell phone, iPad seized to assist with Flint water crisis investigation
Michigan's Attorney General obtained and used search warrants to allow investigators to go through call history lists, text messages, pictures, audio files, emails, instant messaging and other data, including calendars and GPS directions. Investigators requested similar information from the devices of 33 employees who worked in the then-Department of Environmental Quality or the Department of Health and Human Services. Read more from the article: https://www.michiganadvance.com/2019/06/03/snyders-cell-phone-ipad-seized-amid-flint-water-crisis-investigation/
House Speaker Glen Casada announced he plans to resign following a vote of no confidence by his Republican caucus. Casada is resigning amid a scandal over explicit text messages he had earlier dismissed as "locker room talk." Read more from the article: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/tennessee-gop-house-speaker-resign-over-sexually-explicit-text-messages-n1008276
The Missouri Senate proposed a bill to ban secret texting apps because "The Star reported in late 2017 that then-Gov. Eric Greitens and most of his government staff were using an app called Confide, which automatically deletes a text message after it has been read. A pair of attorneys from St. Louis sued, arguing Confide was being used to subvert the state’s open records and transparency laws." Read more from the article: https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article230093804.html
HR Director in Ann Arbor, Michigan resigns due to accusations of inappropriate text messages with subordinates
Robyn Wilkerson has resigned after being accused of repeatedly making inappropriate remarks in text messages with regards to joking about blowing up city hall, wanting to carry a gun to work, and more. Read more from the article: https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2019/05/ann-arbor-hr-director-resigns-amid-accusations-of-inappropriate-text-messages.html
In a discussion regarding cell phone policy, City Attorney John Henley informed the Casper City Council that text, voice and video messages sent on their personal cell phones may be subject to public records requests if it pertains to City business. Read more: https://oilcity.news/community/city/2019/04/17/city-attorney-says-text-voice-and-video-messages-may-be-subject-to-public-records-requests/
Local newspaper requests text messages from multiple city organizations including Denton City Council and the Denton school board. Read the article to see the results of their requests: https://www.dentonrc.com/news/local/testing-that-text-message-as-a-public-record/article_f47789d3-41a4-5ab0-a9e7-83eea28fb2a0.html
Read why Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s failed legal battle to keep his secret government-related emails and texts will cost the city's taxpayers:
View article as a PDF.
Judge rules City of Cincinnati will pay $101,000 over text messages sent between five members of the city council in violation of Ohio's open meetings laws. Read more: https://www.citybeat.com/news/blog/21050102/everything-you-should-know-about-the-cincinnati-city-council-text-lawsuit
The mayor, who used his personal phone instead of a government-issued phone, routinely deleted all of his text messages about city business. In the process he created a huge gap in public records. Read more: https://www.philly.com/news/philadelphia-mayor-jim-kenney-deleted-texts-public-records-transparency-20190216.html