Lawsuit accuses governor of violating IPRA

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

SANTA FE, NM – A lawsuit filed Friday, March 5th, is accusing the Office of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of violating the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act by failing to produce the governor’s travel records.

Brett Kokinadis - a former congressional candidate and the Republican Party of Santa Fe’s 2nd Vice Chairman – requested by electronic mail on January 30 “all travel records, from November 1, 2020, to January 30, 2021, pertaining to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham … whether for personal or official purposes, including air travel.”

Also named in the lawsuit is Kyle P. Duffy, an attorney in the governor’s office who acted as the records custodian.

The lawsuit accuses the Office of the Governor and Duffy of withholding public records by first claiming “we are still searching our records to ensure that there are no responsive documents to your request, and this search is taking longer than usual due to the nature of your request and the severe strain that the public health emergency is having on the time and resources of our office.”

In a written response to Kokinadis, the governor’s office said the “request has been deemed excessively burdensome and broad due to the large volume of potentially responsive materials and the practical limitations on responding to large public records requests during an ongoing statewide public health emergency.”

“The governor and her administration clearly operate behind a cloak of secrecy and outside the parameters, she has set for the rest of us,” said Kokinadis. “Based on the assertion that my request is ‘excessively burdensome and broad’ and apparently too ‘large’ to respond to, it appears the governor violated her own public health order and frequently traveled out of state.”

Bob Graham, Chairman of the Republican Party of Santa Fe stated, “It is severely disheartening for our Governor to repeatedly behave more like a Sovereign than a public servant. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s most recent actions are just further examples of her belief she is endowed with the divine right of rule rather than an elected official who owes their opportunity to serve to the people.”

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