Augusta – The office of the governor today said it will be two to three weeks before the public can view the governor’s binder where he supposedly keeps records of people arrested on drug charges in Maine. The ACLU of Maine filed a Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) request after the governor claimed to keep a three-ring binder containing pictures of “every single drug dealer who has been arrested in our state.” He went on to say that 90 percent of those arrested are Black or Hispanic.

The following can be attributed to Alison Beyea, executive director of the ACLU of Maine:

“We are disappointed that the governor’s office is delaying the release of these records. Our request was narrowly tailored and should be simple to fulfill. The records in question pertain to matters of utmost importance to the Maine people, and their release is essential to a fully informed public discussion. We understand that the governor’s staff is busy, but we urge them to prioritize this urgent matter.”

The ACLU’s FOAA request can be read here.

The full text of the response from the governor’s office is below:

Thank you for your e-mail dated August 25, 2016, in which you request certain documents under 1 M.R.S.A. § 408-A, Maine’s Freedom of Access Act (“FOAA”). This letter constitutes official acknowledgement and response to your request. 

You requested of the Office of the Governor an inspection of a binder containing press clippings related to drug arrests in Maine. 

We will begin reviewing this file for documents that are not subject to FOAA, including but not limited to personnel matters, other confidential matters, and documents unrelated to the transaction of state business.  We will provide statutory references as a basis for any redactions or denials of records when a final decision is made. 

Given the workload of staff and the fact that we have received multiple requests to inspect this file (as opposed to being provided a copy of the file), we anticipate that it could take two to three weeks to complete this request.  At this point, we do not anticipate that there will be a cost associated with this request.