For Immediate Release
July 9, 2010
Associate Attorney General Richard W. Head
The Attorney General's Office announced today that it has released another batch of e-mails received by or sent to former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte. Today's release includes over 6,000 pages of e-mails produced in response to Right-to-Know requests received regarding the former Attorney General. The released e-mails are redacted to the extent necessary to prevent disclosure of confidential information in accordance with RSA 91-A, the Right-to-Know law.
Today's release includes e-mails that have been restored from back-up tapes. Back-up tapes of the Attorney General's Office e-mail system existed and have been restored for the months of May, June, and July of 2009. Monthly backup tapes for periods prior to May 2009 had previously been reused and were no longer available. The remainder of the e-mails restored from backup will be released as soon as the review and redaction process required by the Right-to-Know law has been completed.
All governmental records, regardless of whether in paper or electronic form, require the employee holding the record to make appropriate decisions regarding whether the record is properly preserved and if so where in the records system it should be preserved. For example, in this office, e-mails are routinely printed to paper and preserved with other paper files or moved electronically out of the e-mail system and into the electronic records management system. As the approximately 11,000 e-mails that have now been disclosed demonstrate, substantive e-mails to and from the former Attorney General were properly preserved in accordance with the Right-to-Know law.
Any individual who would like a copy of these e-mails and other public records that have previously been released in response to Right-to-Know requests can contact the Attorney General's Office and receive a disc containing the documents produced to date. The e-mails released today are in addition to copies of Kelly Ayotte's official correspondence released on May 10, 2010. Over 11,000 pages of e-mails have been produced to date, and the production is ongoing.
Every year, the Department of Justice receives a significant number of Right-to-Know requests from the public seeking access to information on a wide variety of subjects. The request for Kelly Ayotte's correspondence is only one of a multitude of pending requests. Since January 1, 2010, Department of Justice attorneys and support staff have spent over 1,725 hours reviewing and preparing governmental records for disclosure in response to Right-to-Know requests. This amounts to over $217,350 in personnel costs. On May 28, 2010, in an effort to satisfy the pending requests in a timely manner, most of the attorneys and paraprofessionals at the Attorney General's Office stopped performing their other duties and spent one day working on Right-to-Know requests. On that day alone, staff spent over 286 hours reviewing records in conjunction with pending Right-to-Know requests. Substantial additional time will be devoted to fulfilling all pending and new requests.
The Right-to-Know law does not authorize state agencies to recover the full cost of responding to Right-to-Know requests. Instead, the law provides that the person requesting copies of governmental records pay only for the actual costs of copying, which for our Office has been calculated at $.20 per page provided in electronic format, and $.25 per page for paper copies.
Today's release of e-mails to or from former Attorney General Ayotte is part of an on-going process. Copies of additional e-mails will be made available on a rolling basis.
New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301