All Politics is Local

The suit must go on

Clark County and Councilor David Madore asked a Cowlitz County judge to throw out a lawsuit filed over the Republican councilor’s Facebook page – the judge, however, denied that request.

Public records gadfly Arthur West, an Olympia resident, sued Clark County and Madore in August alleging the county “silently and unreasonably withheld records” from Madore’s controversial Facebook page.

West filed a public records request with Clark County on July 25, asking for public records concerning Clark County business from Madore’s Facebook page. The county did not provide records after Madore signed an affidavit saying there are no public records on his Facebook account. I’ve made the same public records request and received the same response.

In its response, filed Monday and graciously sent our way by Longview Daily News reporter Lauren Kronebusch, Clark County denied West’s allegations. It went on to say West “failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.”

But court records show a judge denied the request for relief, meaning, for now, that this suit will go forward.

Washington courts tend to err on the side of granting access to politicians’ communications from their private accounts or devices, but this is the first time social media has been tested this way. West told me he hopes the lawsuit sets some precedent.

Kaitlin Gillespie

Kaitlin Gillespie

I'm the education reporter at The Columbian. Get in touch at kaitlin.gillespie@columbian.com or 360-735-4517.