Rio Rancho, NM – The Southwest Public Policy Institute (SPPI) announced today that a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Institute against the Secretary of State of New Mexico (NMSOS) for failure to produce responsive records from an Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) request.
The request identified constituent data with reasonable particularity as required under IPRA. As part of its ongoing mission to educate the public and create better living through better policy in the American Southwest, SPPI requested the constituent data to continue its public education efforts.
This request went unanswered, constituting an improper denial. SPPI asserts that they have provided NMSOS with ample opportunity and time to respond. The request was submitted on August 5, 2022.
From the New Mexico Attorney General’s IPRA compliance guide:
“The requester may deem the request denied and may pursue the remedies available pursuant to the Inspection of Public Records Act if the custodian does not permit the records to be inspected in a reasonable period of time.”
“A custodian who does not deliver or mail a written explanation of denial within fifteen days after receipt of a written request for inspection is subject to an action to enforce the provisions of the Inspection of Public Records Act and the requester may be awarded damages.”
Through its counsel, Jordon P. George of Aragon Moss George Jenkins, LLP, SPPI alleges unreasonable failure by NMSOS to provide a complete and timely response to SPPI’s public records request.
SPPI seeks an order from District Court Judge Matthew Justin Wilson requiring NMSOS to produce all materials responsive to SPPI’s records request.
Patrick Brenner, president of the Southwest Public Policy Institute, expressed concern at the lack of transparency being displayed by the Secretary of State of New Mexico.
“The existing data is public record, and the Office of the Secretary of State is obligated to provide an opportunity to inspect such records, which they have failed to do. SPPI is entitled to these records, and we are confident that Judge Wilson will issue a favorable ruling in a timely manner,” Brenner continued.
The case number is D-101-CV-202201994 and was filed on October 25, 2022.