Arkansas Law Allows Huckabee to Withhold Papers, Brief Argues

DECEMBER 20, 2006 - Posted at 4:07 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - An attorney general's office filing says an exemption in the state law governing open records allows Governor Mike Huckabee to withhold documents regarding the resignation of a state Parole Board member.

Huckabee is appealing a Pulaski County judge's June order to release documents regarding the resignation of board member Lary Zeno. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper had sued Huckabee and the parole board for an investigative report that led to Zeno's resignation and for Zeno's resignation letter.

In a brief submitted to the state Supreme Court, Deputy Attorney General Timothy Gauger says the papers were exempt from release because of a provision in the state's Freedom of Information Act governing ``working papers.''

Zeno resigned May 16th after board Chairman Leroy Brownlee said an investigation was under way into complaints about Zeno's performance in what Brownlee called a ``professional working relationship.''

Gauger says the documents were still the governor's working papers and he dismissed an argument that the exemption doesn't apply because the papers were not created by Huckabee or his staff.

The documents remain under seal until the case is resolved.