The conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit Thursday against Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold alleging she withheld documents following an open records request by a reporter.
The lawsuit was filed in Denver District Court on behalf of Washington Free Beacon reporter Todd Shepherd, who filed a Colorado Open Records Act with Griswold’s office on Feb. 4 regarding personal communications over the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which the state legislature was at the time debating.
Griswold had testified in favor of the legislation prior to the records request that was in-part fulfilled. Some records were not turned over by Griswold’s office, which cited a "work product" privilege in the state’s open records law, according to a report by Shepherd on Feb. 20.
Shepherd asked that the privilege be waived, but a legal analyst for the Secretary of State said, "I'm sorry, but the Secretary does not release work product prepared for her."
The legislation was passed and signed into law by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis in March.
Shepherd noted in his report that Griswold has testified and campaigned on government transparency and holding public officials accountable.
Griswold’s office recently got in hot water after it was reported an official in her office allowed Planned Parenthood to view and edit an official Secretary of State press release.
“Leftists in Colorado and other states want to undo the Electoral College and the U.S. Constitution in the hopes of guaranteeing control of the presidency,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a news release. “This attack on the Electoral College would give large left-leaning states and voter fraud an unconstitutionally outsized impact on the outcome of our presidential elections.”
The law signed by Polis requires Colorado’s nine electoral college votes to be cast for the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote, which is not necessarily who a majority of Coloradans vote for.
The law only goes into effect if enough states join the National Popular Vote Compact to total 270 electoral college votes. So far, 15 states and the District of Columbia – totalling 196 electoral college votes – have joined the compact, according to National Popular Vote, Inc.
The group Coloradans Vote has collected more than 100,000 signatures to get a question on the 2020 ballot that could overturn the law.
If the group collects enough signatures, Griswold’s office is tasked with verifying the petition signatures.
“Jena Griswold has been less than transparent in comparison to her predecessor,” said Rose Pugliese, a Mesa County commissioner behind the petition. “We know where she stands on the national popular vote; she sent her staff on public time to testify in the legislature in favor of the national popular vote bill.”
Despite Griswold’s stance, Pugliese said she believes the petition effort will be treated fairly by the office.
“It is the public servants in her office who will be validating the petition and we have a high level of confidence that they’re going to do what’s fair and right by our issue,” she added.