APCC has filed an appeal to the Massachusetts Secretary of State asking for an order to compel the Massachusetts National Guard Bureau to turn over requested documents sought under the state’s Public Records Law. Starting in June APCC has sought, in two separate filings, the production of “All documents, including, but not limited to, e-mails and letters, relating in any manner to any aspect of the proposed Joint Base Cape Cod Multi-Purpose Machine Gun Range sent by Brigadier General Christopher M. Faux to any and all current or former staff in the District and/or Washington D.C. offices of the members of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation.”
The Records Access Officer for the Massachusetts National Guard produced certain documents in response to APCC’s June 30 and July 19 records request and reported that no documents had been withheld or redacted. It is APCC’s contention, on information and belief, that the Records Access Officer for the Massachusetts National Guard failed to produce at least two e-mails sent by Brigadier General Christopher M. Faux to the office of Congressman William Keating of the Massachusetts 9th Congressional District within the months of March 2021 and April 2021. Discussions between Congressman William Keating’s staff and APCC in the spring of 2021 disclosed the existence of emails from Brigadier General Christopher M. Faux within that timeframe relevant to APCC’s public records request that were not included in the documents produced by the Massachusetts National Guard in response to APCC’s public records request.
The public has a right to access government communications unless certain conditions exist. No such privileges were cited by the Guard, and it was asserted that no documents were withheld despite APCC’s knowledge of their existence. Given the lack of transparency that has clouded the proposed construction of the multi-purpose machine gun range, the importance of ensuring that the public sees all records to which it has a legal right is of paramount importance. The troops that protect and sacrifice for us deserve all that they need to fulfill their mission. Rather than engaging the public in an open and candid dialogue about how to ensure that needed training can be done while both protecting the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve and complying with the law, the current leadership of the Guard has chosen a more divisive path. That is unfortunate and is bad for everyone involved. We remain hopeful that this appeal will result in full disclosure of all relevant documents without APCC having to appeal for redress by the state courts, where discovery and statements are done under oath.
One cannot wonder what is so damning about these emails that they have been withheld. We will soon see.