BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin has made public a collection of documents to journalists shortly after a judge again ordered her to reveal the records.
The public records released on Thursday included feedback from the public regarding her newly created Education Task Force. It was tasked with investigating alleged indoctrination in the state's public school system, something McGeachin said was necessary to "protect our young people from the scourge of critical race theory, socialism, communism and Marxism."
The Idaho Press Club sued for the records earlier this year. A judge in late August found McGeachin wrongly denied the journalists access to the public documents, and fined her $750 for "bad faith" violations of the Idaho Public Records Act. The judge also ordered McGeachin to pay the Idaho Press Club's attorney fees and court costs.
In his August ruling, Fourth District Judge Steven Hippler noted a Facebook post in which McGeachin attacked the journalists and one of their news outlets, asking, “Why does the media want YOUR personal information? Do they plan to release it and encourage employers and government agencies to retaliate against Idahoans who have expressed concerns about Idaho’s education system?”
Among the public records McGeachin sought to block from release were not only the names of those submitting public comments to her task force, but also the comments themselves.
“The disclosure of public records is prescribed by law, and fear mongering has no place in the calculus,” Judge Hippler wrote. “If public officials were required to disclose public records only to those, including media, they believe will support the government’s actions, we will have shed the principles of our democracy and evolved into an autocratic state where criticism of public officials is not permitted.”
Earlier this week, the Idaho Press Club asked the judge to hold the lieutenant governor in contempt of court for refusing to turn over the documents, despite the judge's order.
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