Under the Dome

NC GOP threatens Cooper on lack of records; Cooper says more than 14,000 produced and ready

The state Republican Party has issued a threat of legal action within a week if Attorney General Roy Cooper does not act on the party’s pending request for a broad range of records about his time in office.
The state Republican Party has issued a threat of legal action within a week if Attorney General Roy Cooper does not act on the party’s pending request for a broad range of records about his time in office. cseward@newsobserver.com

The state Republican Party has issued a threat of legal action against Attorney General Roy Cooper, saying he needs to act on the party’s pending request for a broad range of records about his time in office.

Cooper is expected to seek the Democratic nomination for governor.

In a letter, GOP chairman Hasan Harnett wrote that the party has not received any “meaningful or adequate” response to the party’s requests since they were made in a series of letters in March.

The letter says Cooper has seven more days to begin producing documents or Harnett will begin legal action and seek a court order to compel compliance.

But Cooper’s office says it began producing records responsive to the GOP’s request in April.

In a letter to the GOP, an assistant public information officer, Samantha Cole, wrote that more than 14,000 pages have been produced. They are in a conference room at the Department of Justice.

Responding to the legal threat, Cole wrote that two representatives of the GOP visited the DOJ office for about one hour on May 1 and reviewed the documents.

“Later that day,” Cole wrote, “you emailed my colleague Noelle Talley stating that those officials would return to continue reviewing the documents. Since that time, we have had no communication from you or your office regarding those public records requests for what has been easily estimated as tens of thousands of documents.”

Cole wrote that “because this office was told in early May that the two party representatives would return to continue reviewing the documents, it has continued to produce documents responsive to that public records request. Those documents remain available for review.”

The state Democratic Party responded with a statement that said the GOP’s letter “is nothing more than a weak attempt to distract from Governor McCrory’s abysmal record on transparency.”

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