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Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies before House subcommittee

He said it "ain't so," and the public responded in at least one case -- likely thousands of other cases -- "[he's] a liar."

After learning last week that a high ranking National Institute of Health official admitted to multiple evasions of the Freedom of Information Act in testimony before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, we implored Dr. Anthony Fauci to "say it ain't so" -- a nod to the 1919 World Series Black Sox scandal and the public's entreaties to outfielder, Shoeless Joe Jackson, to " Say it ain't so, Joe."

We were vilified by some for raising the issue at all. The investigation, we were told in so many words, is yet another partisan congressional deflection aimed at perpetuating unsubstantiated myths and denigrating esteemed public officials.

After Dr. Fauci looked subcommittee members squarely in the eye on June 3 and swore under oath that he did "not do government business on [his] private email," we were told, "He is a liar."…

Whatever side of the larger issue you fall on -- and we are the first to acknowledge that the public records issue is the lesser of the issues with which the subcommittee is dealing -- we cannot, and will not, ignore the admissions made by Dr. Fauci's subordinate, Dr. David Morens, that he (Morens) engaged in illegal public records conduct. What Dr. Fauci knew, whether he condoned, or even participated in, the illegal public records law evasions, is a matter for his conscience and -- oh yes -- public records!…

Dr. Fauci denied engaging in these illegal acts, describing them as an "aberrancy and an outlier." No emails were presented during the June 3 subcommittee hearing in which Dr. Fauci himself, rather than his subordinate, agreed to engage in evasive measures aimed at thwarting Freedom of Information Act requests. None were presented which verified his use of his private email account, his use of misspellings, or his illegal destruction of communications about official business.

Given the enthusiasm with which some subcommittee members read the contents of emails from Dr. Morens, verifying Morens' active participation in these illegal evasions, it is safe to assume that subcommittee members would have gleefully read any incriminating emails to or from Dr. Fauci uncovered in the investigation.

If Dr. Fauci were, in fact, a "liar," the proof would be found in public records. No public records were presented in the subcommittee hearing that contradicted Dr. Fauci's denial that he did not "do government business on [his] private email."

Absent such proof, in the tangible form of public records, we are not convinced that "he is a liar."

Nor, however, are we convinced that we should stand down on the secondary public records issue that emerged in the subcommittee proceedings because those proceedings lack -- in the eyes of some beholders -- legitimacy.

Electronic subterfuge to avoid accountability has reached epidemic proportions at every level of government in every state. Clearly, this includes Kentucky.…

"The public's 'right to know' under the Open Records Act is premised upon the public's right to expect its agencies properly to execute their statutory functions. In general, inspection of records may reveal whether the public servants are indeed serving the public."…

Public records provide the only reliable means of verifying whether public servants "are indeed serving the public."

Public records laws are under attack in Kentucky -- indeed, throughout the United States -- by sanctimonious lawmakers who falsely clothe their efforts in "good intentions" but whose ultimate goal is to divest the public of its statutorily established right to independently verify that "its agencies properly execute their statutory functions."

We happily leave political posturing for those in Washington, in Frankfort, and on Twitter. But stand down on this public records issue in the face of Kentucky's 2024's failed House Bill 509 -- and what lies ahead for the Commonwealth -- as well as the rest of the country?

Hell no!


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