AG to Attorney Fisher: ‘We cannot simply ignore laws and facts’

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The Guam Attorney General has issued a response to the show cause order filed by attorney Tom Fisher who is seeking any records of discussions with internal staff or the governor’s office over the issue of double pay for frontline GovGuam employees.

Fisher filed the show cause order in Superior Court on Tuesday. He says the Attorney General has failed to respond to the Freedom of Information request he filed for those internal emails and documents on the double pay. He wants the court to order the AG to release those documents.

“Attorney Fisher has asked to access the private conversations and thoughts of our employees and we have said no,” states Attorney General Leevin Camacho in his response issued on Wednesday. “Neither our FOIA laws nor the principle of transparency require that government employees give up their right to privacy.”

Camacho points out that under Guam’s Freedom of Information Act law one limitation on the release of public records is when the records relate to pending litigation.

Fisher has a pending lawsuit against GovGuam over the double pay issue.

Last month, Fisher filed a lawsuit in Superior Court on behalf of a Guam police officer and others seeking to force GovGuam to pay their frontliners double-pay during the still ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Judge Anita Sukola dismissed the lawsuit. Fisher has appealed to the Guam Supreme Court. And in support of his appeal, he wants to see internal emails and documents within the administration over double-pay.

“Attorney Fisher has contradicted his own statements by claiming that there is no pending lawsuit against the OAG,” said Camacho. “Fisher lost his case and has since filed an appeal in the Supreme Court, where the case is now pending.”

“We cannot simply ignore laws and facts when they produce an outcome we do not like,” concludes the AG in his statement.

READ the release from the AG in FULL below:

OAG Response to Attorney Fisher’s Petition for Writ on FOIA

June 17,2020 – Tamuning, Guam- Attorney Tom Fisher has demanded all communications between OAG employees about payment of GovGuam employees, including private conversations on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. 

“Attorney Fisher has asked to access the private conversations and thoughts of our employees, and we have said no,” said Attorney General Leevin T. Camacho. “Neither our FOIA laws nor the principle of transparency require that government employees give up their right to privacy.” 

Under Guam’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) law, one limitation on the release of public records is when the records relate to pending litigation. The purpose of this limitation is to protect the fairness of the judicial process and to prevent unfair advantages involving access to information during a lawsuit. 

It is public knowledge that Attorney Fisher represents various GovGuam employees, including an OAG employee, in a lawsuit against GovGuam for double pay. Attorney Fisher lost his case and has since filed an appeal in the Supreme Court, where the case is now pending. In his latest court filing, Attorney Fisher has contradicted his own statements by claiming that there is no pending lawsuit against the OAG. 

“We cannot simply ignore laws and facts when they produce an outcome we do not like,” said AG Camacho.