Arizona House Speaker Gowan Tries to Hide From Arizona’s Open Records Law

Defend Rural Arizona
Two and a half months after a request was issued to the Arizona House, a request for records relating to Speaker Gowan’s travel remains unfulfilled
Earlier this year, embattled House Speaker David Gowan had to pay back $12,000 in expenditures after audits found he had requested mileage reimbursements for travel unrelated to state business, had claimed mileage while using a state vehicle, or had been granted a per diem for days when he was not doing state work.  Subsequent press investigations found that a substantial amount of his allegedly “official” travel was taken to areas within Congressional District 1, and questions remain as to the extent of his attempts to use state resources to subsidize campaign travel.For this reason Defend Rural Arizona issued a request for the Speaker’s travel records on March 24.  DRA still has not received any files from the speaker or his office.  The only communication we have received is confirmation from May 5 that our request had been received and would be processed.

Under the Arizona Public Records law, A.R.S. § 39-121.01(D)(1), “The custodian of such records shall promptly furnish such copies, printouts or photographs.”  Failing to furnish requested information for more than two months does not seem to fit with the definition of “prompt” disclosure.

“This is a classic example of a career politician who thinks he’s above the law.  It should come as no surprise that he is under investigation,” said James Harris of Defend Rural Arizona.  “We believe the people of Arizona have a right to know if Speaker Gowan is improperly using his office to further his political career, and we encourage Speaker Gowan to stop dragging his feet and release these records.”

A copy of the original records request can be viewed here, while a copy of the response received from the House Republican Caucus Press Secretary can be viewed here.


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