State agency spent $18,000 defending $200 fine

Published 9:24 am Tuesday, March 12, 2019

A state agency in Mississippi has spent nearly $18,000 challenging a $200 fine by another agency in a public document dispute.

The Clarion Ledger of Jackson reported the dispute involves Rep. Joel Bomgar and the Department of Public Safety.

Bomgar asked John Dowdy with the Mississippi Bureau of narcotics some questions about the state’s drug policy. Dowdy sent his answers to Public Safety Commissioner Marshall Fisher, who told Dowdy not to send the letter.

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Bomgar complained to the Mississippi Ethics Commission, which fined two Public Safety Department’s attorneys $100 each. The agency is now fighting the fines in court.

The agency eventually gave Bomgar the letter but is still challenging the fines.

Attorneys say the challenge could lead to a ruling on when a draft document becomes a public record.