On March 26, following American Oversight’s public communications about the missing day, the Office of Arizona’s Attorney General contacted American Oversight and indicated that it had been closed on Jan. 6, 2021, because of protests, and that the day’s entry was blank. We have requested that the office provide us with the record, and will post it here.
In response to an open records request, American Oversight recently received calendar entries for Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich covering October 2020 through March 2021. But the documents skip Jan. 6, the day a violent mob, incited by then-President Donald Trump’s lies about the election, stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attack that left five dead, including a Capitol Police officer.
The records are partially redacted, but include entries on most weekdays other than those around holidays and Jan. 6. It’s unclear if Jan. 6 was purposefully excluded for some reason or whether the agency did not find records responsive to our requests on that day — but we plan to find out. American Oversight will seek clarification about these records and if necessary take legal steps to uncover the full story.
We initially requested Brnovich’s calendars after several Arizona lawmakers and Rudy Giuliani held an unofficial “hearing” on Nov. 30 in which participants made unsubstantiated allegations about the integrity of the presidential election. Our investigation into efforts to undermine the election’s results has since extended to cover the actions of government officials related to the Jan. 6 rally and attack.
In at least one other case, a top state official appears to be attempting to evade accountability by refusing to release similar information to the public. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is withholding from multiple news outlets text messages and emails he sent or received while he was in Washington, D.C., to speak at the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally.
Government officials’ communications are frequently successfully sought through open records requests. For example, American Oversight previously received emails from the Texas attorney general’s office after requesting coronavirus-related communications sent by top officials.
Multiple news outlets that sought Paxton’s Jan. 6 communications, including the Houston Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, the Texas Tribune, and ProPublica are now working together to obtain the records.
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