Wolf adminstration, Pennsylvania GOP bring feud over McGinty emails to court

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Katie McGinty talks with Dave Davies at WHYY. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Katie McGinty talks with Dave Davies at WHYY. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Another chapter has unfolded quietly in the drawn-out battle over emails Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty sent and received during her brief stint as Gov. Tom Wolf’s chief of staff.

The Pennsylvania Republican Party filed a right-to-know request with Wolf’s office last July, after McGinty resigned. It asked for access to her emails and her work calendar, and launched a year’s worth of squabbling between the GOP and the administration.

The Office of Open Records ruled in December the governor’s office was justified in not releasing certain emails, but noted others should have been disclosed. Those latter emails are the ones currently in contention.

Eric Arneson, executive director of the Office of Open Records, said a key point in court will be whether the GOP’s request was too general.

“That issue generally, of specificity, is one that the office of open records has wrestled with, and courts have wrestled with since the right-to-know law was enacted,” he said. “I think that is inevitable.”

Arneson added that he hasn’t “seen anything from either side that makes me think there’s anything at play here, other than an honest disagreement over exactly what needs to be released, whether the request itself was specific enough up front.”

The governor’s office said it has responded to 40 total right-to-know requests involving McGinty, and has released 4,500 pages of records.

The state GOP didn’t return a request for comment.

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