April 24, 2019

What About The FOIA Requests From the Press Herald?

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While some should be happy that Maine Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos of Friendship is seeking a federal investigation into whether or not the Maine Warden Service (MWS) illegally carried out undercover operations, has everyone forgotten that the MWS, to my knowledge, has yet to comply with state and federal laws by withholding documents requested by the Portland Press Herald?

I have written in the past that perhaps it was time for the Maine Legislature to take a look at the guidelines – which seem to be a secret – and determine if there needs to be changes made to undercover operations by Maine law enforcement agencies. A bit puzzling in all of this is that in each of the cases in question, that have been heard by a Maine Court, no judge has seen fit to not charge any of the defendants due to illegal actions by the MWS. Some judges have called the tactics questionable.

Assuming the Courts are not also corrupt (wink, wink) what then is the purpose of seeking a federal investigation? If the state-approved guidelines for undercover agents is being adhered to, then the next logical step would appear to be an examination of the guidelines.

But, is this really the more serious matter in all of this? What about the fact that at least one media source cannot complete its investigation because the MWS refuses to turn over documents requested through the Freedom of Information Access Law?

A federal investigation might determine that a raid that was filmed by a television film crew was staged and embellished but without release of requested documents, how can the people know exactly what took place and the communications carried out in these events.

I certainly hope the efforts to get documents from government agencies is not forgotten in all of this. Perhaps that is the intent? Do law enforcement agents and other government agencies intend to deflect attention away for FOIA and place it somewhere else where they know it will be an easier dead end? More than likely.

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