Wash. high court to hear executive privilege case



OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on whether the governor can claim “executive privilege” as a reason to withhold records from the public.

Gov. Chris Gregoire has claimed “executive privilege” for some records even though it is not listed as a specific exemption under state law. A Thurston County judge ruled last year that that she was allowed to use it as a reason to keep documents private.

The Olympia-based Freedom Foundation brought the lawsuit last year. The group’s general counsel says allowing “executive privilege” as an exemption would be the most significant expansion of government secrecy in years.

State law already recognizes more than 300 public records exemptions, such as proprietary information or medical records.