State agency has spent $18,000 defending $200 fine

Published 11:20 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2019

JACKSON (AP) — A state agency in Mississippi has spent nearly $18,000 challenging another agency’s $200 fine.

The Clarion Ledger of Jackson reports that the dispute involves the Department of Public Safety’s response to a lawmaker’s public document request.

Rep. Joel Bomgar asked John Dowdy with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics some questions about the state’s drug policy. Dowdy sent his answers to Public Safety Commissioner Marshall Fisher, who told Dowdy not to send the letter.

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Bomgar complained to the Mississippi Ethics Commission, which fined two Public Safety Department attorneys $100 each. The agency eventually gave Bomgar the letter, but is still challenging the fines in court, saying it could set a precedent for when a draft document becomes a public record.