FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Chris Reynolds
October 11, 1994
Miller Stalls Jones on Public Records Act; Jones
Team of 20 Investigators to Uncover Truth
Assemblyman Bill Jones (R-Fresno), Republican nominee for Secretary of
State, today charged his opponent--Acting Secretary of State Tony
Miller--with suppressing information and interfering with the public's
right to know. Miller is currently in violation of California's Public
Records Act, Jones said.
"Tony Miller is failing to disclose public records that I requested in
August," Jones said. "The law requires that public documents be provided
upon request within 10 days. It's been more than six weeks.
"This is not the kind of example the Secretary of State's Office
should be setting. Where is the honesty, and integrity? And, most
importantly, what's [Miller] trying to hide?"
Jones has formally requested copies of constituent letters or letters
from public officials relating to complaints of voter registration fraud
and election fraud, and requests for investigations.
The "stalling tactic" has been used before by the Secretary of State's
Office to prevent a political challenger from getting pertinent public
records, Jones said. Joan Milke Flores, March Fong Eu's 1990 challenger,
was denied access to public records relating to the waiver of fines for
violation of campaign finance laws until October 12, 1990, even though
her request for the information was received by the Secretary of State on
August 14, 1990.
"First we were told that the documents were not public," Milke Flores
said. "Then we were told, by Tony Miller, that we would have to pay the
cost of copying 151,000 documents, or $75,000. This is exactly the kind
of abuse the Public Records Act is supposed to prevent.
"The Secretary of State's office is supposed to be the champion of
openness," Milke Flores added. "They are the keeper of campaign finance
records under the Political Reform Act. We found out in 1990 that they
had something to hide--more than $6 million in fines had been waived by
Tony Miller. Based on the track record, all that can be concluded is
that they wouldn't be doing this unless they have something to hide."
The similarity between the two cases of Public Records Act violations
is striking, Jones commented. The initial request from both Jones and
Milke Flores was made in August. It took 58 days for the Secretary of
State to comply with Milke Flores' request; Jones, who was told that he
would have access to the records on October 17, will have waited 54
days. Milke Flores was given access to fine waivers on October 12;
Jones will be given access to constituent letters on October 17.
When representatives from Jones' campaign confronted Assistant
Secretary of State Jerry Hill on October 3, to demand access to the
records, Hill confirmed that Miller is aware of Jones' repeated requests,
and the Office's response to those requests.
"By any stretch of the imagination, the Secretary of State's Office
has failed to comply with the law," Jones said. "The fine waiver
information revealed that violations of campaign finance laws were
routinely forgiven; more than $6 million in fine revenue that should have
gone to the State's General Fund to pay for schools, public services and
public safety was just written off by Tony Miller.
"This stalling tactic is keeping the public from finding out something
that it would consider pertinent to this election," Jones added.
"Interfering with public debate by suppressing information should not be
tolerated, and Miller must be held accountable."
Jones said a team of 20 investigators will converge on the Secretary
of State's Office on October 17 to review the documents that Miller has
been keeping secret.
(Correspondence documenting Milke Flores' and Jones' requests, and the
responses from the Secretary of State are available upon request.)
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