Why is Treasurer Allison Ball Hiding Her Travel Records?
AG: Treasurer violated Open Records Act refusing to turn over travel records
The office of Attorney General Daniel Cameron ruled fellow Republican Treasurer Allison Ball violated the Kentucky Open Records Act when her office refused to turn over her travel records in response to an Open Records request – prompting questions about what Ball is hiding from Kentucky voters.
For more than a month, Ball, the state treasurer now running for state auditor, has repeatedly refused to turn over public records about her taxpayer-funded travel.
“What is Allison Ball hiding? Allison Ball wants to be state auditor, but any decent auditor knows it smells funny to post on social media about traveling and then refuse to turn over public records about taxpayer-funded trips,” said Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Colmon Elridge. “Kentuckians deserve to know where she is spending taxpayer dollars to travel. Period. As the state treasurer, Allison Ball is responsible for management of taxpayer money and has chosen to play games with the accountability for those dollars while spending time posting on social media for likes and clicks. Even her fellow Republican Daniel Cameron agrees. Her nonsense about Disney and birthday cards makes it even more suspicious, although if taxpayers funded those we should see those records too. Stop delaying, stop denying, turn over the records and be straight with the people of Kentucky, Allison.”
The Kentucky Democratic Party requested the records on July 28 seeking “any and all requests for out of state [or] out of country travel for [the Treasurer] from January 1, 2016 to present [including] any and all Forms DOA28 and DOA28A.” Ball’s office responded that no responsive records existed.
Ball has posted on social media about her travel.
The KDP immediately requested “any records of any out-of-state or international travel by” Ball. Her office denied the request as “unreasonably burdensome.” The KDP appealed and the Attorney General agreed the request was not burdensome, vague or broad.
“Here, the agency has not articulated, or estimated, the number of potential records implicated by the Appellant’s request,” according to the Attorney General’s opinion. “Although the number of records implicated is not the only factor the Office considers when determining whether a request is unreasonably burdensome, it is the most important factor to be considered. See, e.g., 22 ORD-176 (finding an agency’s response to a request to be inadequate when it failed to estimate the number of records implicated by the request, but holding that reviewing and redacting over 16,000 Microsoft Teams messages would be unreasonably burdensome). Nor has the agency claimed that responsive records are required to remain confidential.”
“An agency’s response must provide sufficient information about the potential number of responsive records, whether such records are in electronic or physical format, whether such records require redaction to comply with law, and whether the agency is capable of searching for records based on the request as framed. The agency has not provided this information, and thus, it has not carried its burden under KRS 61.872(6). The agency, therefore, violated the Act.”