by Karen Gray – Nevada Policy Research Institute
Was the article unfair?
After the publication of the Nevada Policy Research Institute’s “AG ducks open-meeting law responsibilities” analysis, a member of Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto’s recently formed Open Meeting Law Task Force telephoned to offer his view that the article didn’t treat Masto fairly.
The article had cited multiple instances of Nevada public bodies ignoring or consciously circumventing the clear intent of the Nevada open-meeting law. And it argued that Masto is implicitly encouraging such behavior through her noticeably weak or “discretionary” non-enforcement of existing statutes. The piece was the latest in a series examining open-meeting law enforcement in the state.
The “AG ducks” article was unfair, opined the attorney, because it failed to mention the task force Masto formed earlier this year to consider possible changes to the open-meeting law.
“You didn’t even mention that the documents were for the task force,” he said, referring to worksheets revealing an 18 percent jump in open-meeting law violations. That, he asserted, was a “blaring omission.”
Now, it is correct that the worksheets mentioned in the article were provided to the task force and that the article merely said they came from the AG’s office.
But was that unfair?
It might have been — if the direction of the task force, as led by Masto and her deputies, clearly contradicted the article’s thesis. Unfortunately, that is not the case.