Washington Governor Allowed to Withhold Documents from Public - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washington Governor Allowed to Withhold Documents from the Public.

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SEATTLE, WA - The Washington State Supreme Court says the governor can claim an "executive privilege" as a reason to withhold documents from the public.

Justices say the governor's office has an inherent privilege as a result of the constitutional separation of powers.

State public records law has more than 300 explicit exemptions, but executive privilege is not one of them.

The Supreme Court says the administration of Governor Chris Gregoire cited executive privilege as a reason to keep documents private hundreds of times.

The Freedom Foundation brought a lawsuit after Gregoire's office withheld records related to the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement, medical marijuana and criminal pardons.

Justices say the privilege only protects communications made to inform policy choices, not all conversations involving the governor.

To learn more about the exemptions permitted under state public records law, click here