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Staff Pick

Best Public Records Scandal From Orange County Government (This Year) 


Back in the halcyon days of 2012’s Textgate scandal, it seemed that the Orange County Board of County Commissioners, led by Mayor Teresa Jacobs, had hit a wall in its attempts to shield its internal relationships with lobbyists and Republican operatives. State Attorney Jeff Ashton gave them all slaps on the wrist for deleting text messages and let them know they’d been bad, bad public officials. But rather than let that be a lesson, the county took its communications to an even less transparent model – it started using Dropbox to communicate via the cloud. When political activist group Organize Now learned of this, it went to court to demand access to what was in the Dropbox account. Organize Now won. However, by the time they got there, some of the records in the Dropbox had been deleted. So they then sued to ask for IP addresses that had access to the account. Organize Now won that suit, too. The county responded by ditching Dropbox as a communication platform, noting that it was fraught with security concerns. We can’t wait for Snapchatgate!
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)



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