Terry Mutchler Talks about the PA Legislature’s Spent on Private Lawyers in Spotlight PA

July 24, 2023

Terry Mutchler, Chair of Obermayer’s Transparency & Public Data Practice, was quoted in Spotlight Pa on July 24, 2023, regarding a recent court decision requiring the Pa. legislature to show proof before redacting legal bills. 

Nearly two years ago, Spotlight PA and its partner newsroom, The Caucus, asked Pennsylvania’s legislature for details about how much money lawmakers spend on private lawyers — and why they were hired.

Both chambers turned over hundreds of pages of financial records, but in many instances, they wholly blacked out the reason for hiring those attorneys, leaving the public in the dark about why they were spending taxpayer dollars. An appellate court ruling this week could help shake loose some of that secret information.

Terry Mutchler, who is a former head of the Office of Open Records who specializes in public records, said the case shows why the legislature should amend Pennsylvania’s Right-To-Know Law to require both chambers, like the executive branch, to answer to the independent agency when disputes arise.

“They should be the fact finders,” she said of the Office of Open Records. “Because otherwise, you have the public thinking that the fox is watching the henhouse.”

Read the full article here.

Categorized In: Insights
Tagged In: