Wednesday, November 7, 2007

HI Superferry: Lingle Admin. Stymies Public Right to Know

Rep. Oshiro and Sen. Hanabusa are right on:

From: Hawaii Superferry probe may be stymied - The Honolulu Advertiser ...
Posted on: Wednesday, November 7, 2007. Hawaii Superferry probe may be stymied ... to investigate the Lingle administration's handling of Hawaii Superferry...

..."The privilege, if one exists, can be waived," Oshiro said. "The one who can waive it if you go up the chain of command is the governor. She would be able to waive the privilege so that Barry Fukunaga can answer our questions."

State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, D-21st (Nanakuli, Makaha), an attorney, said Fukunaga may be able to assert the privilege to cover any legal advice he was given but that she believes it was improper for him not to disclose whether he received advice. "You can't just simply refuse to answer that question," she said. "If you sought advice, you have to say you sought advice."

Hanabusa also said she believes attorney-client privilege is different for government officials who are represented by government attorneys than clients in the private sector. Some legal scholars have also argued that the public's interest in open government and accountability makes the privilege less than absolute for government officials.

"The issue here is going to be what exactly was the communication? Was the communication one that directed the DOT to do a certain thing versus one that just advised them?" she asked."

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