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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Ind. Decisions - The email attachment that is the object of Groth v. Pence is now public

Sofia Resnick & Amy Littlefield of Rewire News are reporting this afternoon - some quotes from the long story that should be read in full:

Rewire has obtained a political white paper that Vice President Mike Pence has spent more than two years fighting to keep secret.

This white paper details legal strategy shared with Republican governors in a 2014 email about the best way to challenge former President Barack Obama’s order to provide temporary deportation relief to certain undocumented immigrants. The paper has become a matter of public fascination, as it is the subject of a separate lawsuit filed against Pence in December 2014, when he was governor of Indiana. * * *

Rewire shared with Groth the white paper, which we obtained by filing records requests to other states who received Hodge’s email. As of publication time, public records officials in Idaho, North Carolina, and Wyoming sent us the white paper. Groth told Rewire in a phone interview he was ultimately surprised that Pence had been hiding what amounts to many of the same legal arguments made in Texas’ challenge to Obama’s immigration order.

“It really is baffling why the governor would choose to fight so hard to keep this document secret after all these years,” Groth said.

But the white paper, drafted by former Texas Deputy Solicitor General Andy Oldham, by itself reveals what immigration legal experts told Rewire are inherent contradictions between the arguments Pence and his fellow governors made in opposing Obama’s executive action, and the arguments Pence and the Trump administration are making in defending Trump’s recently revised Muslim ban. * * *

Groth told Rewire that he needs to confer with his attorney to figure out how to proceed with his legal challenge. He said that now seeing the white paper, he believes Pence was wrong to keep this document secret.

The white paper “openly is couched as an invitation to other states to join the anticipated Texas lawsuit against Pres. Obama’s humanitarian immigration actions,” Groth said in a follow-up email. “Because the document solicits Indiana’s involvement in that proposed lawsuit, it cannot be protected under the attorney-client exception to our public records law. … Pence has still failed to show there was an attorney-client relationship at the time Texas sent the white paper to him.”

Pence’s attorney in the public records lawsuit, Joseph Chapelle [of BT], confirmed with Rewire that the white paper we obtained is the same that is the subject of Groth’s public-records lawsuit.

“Mr. Pence is not the one seeking this appeal and is no longer a party to this lawsuit under court rules,” Chapelle told Rewire in an email. “It is the other party, Mr. Groth, who wants to keep this case alive. This development is yet another reason why the Indiana Supreme Court should not take this case and let it end now.” * * *

In addition to Groth’s lawsuit, Pence is facing scrutiny about his use of a private email account while he was the governor of Indiana.

The Indianapolis Star recently reported that Pence used the account to conduct state business; yet during the presidential election Pence criticized his running mate’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, for her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

ILB: Here is long list of prior ILB posts on Groth v. Pence.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 15, 2017 03:56 PM
Posted to Indiana Government