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Federal appeals court opens access to ethics violations of government officials

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that a Montana government employee privacy law failed to distinguish between personal information and acts that may be illegal or unethical. The dispute involved an ethics complaint filed by legislator Brad Tschida concerning a alleged misuse of a state-owned airplane in 2014 by Democratic Governor Steve Bullock and an unelected aide, a complaint that Tschidas wanted released to the public. (Courthouse News Service, May 29, 2019, by Mathew Renda)

The court sided with a lower court that the complaint against an elected officials should be public but differed from the lower court in ruling that while unelected officials’ privacy should be protected, the Montana law was overbroad. (The Associated Press, May 29, 2019, by Matt Volz)

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