Late on a Friday afternoon, Anne Arundel County announced that it had conducted an “exhaustive search,” and found nothing to indicate that County Executive John R. Leopold had a political “enemies list”.
The response to a Maryland Public Information Act request didn’t do much to quiet the criticism that has followed Leopold’s March indictment on misconduct charges. He’s accused of having county officers collect information about his foes, as well as directing them to drive him to sexual encounters with a county employee. The Maryland ACLU, for one, was not having any of the county’s explanation.
The advocacy organization has seized on the response, which it says proves the county has more documents and called it a "cover-up." The county has declined to clarify what it meant.
The county previously released a round of so-called dossiers on three prominent county residents — which resulted in allegations that a state criminal database may have been accessed illegally. The ACLU and the media asked the county to release similar documents on an expanded list of people and came up with very little.
"No records were identified that indicate the existence of, or relate to, an 'Enemies List' as has been suggested by some to have been compiled by anyone in the office of the county executive or anyone in the police department," the letter said.
But the county also acknowledged that the executive detail maintained "30 files and three sets of other loose records" on "individuals and groups" that were maintained for "law enforcement investigative purposes." And the county said it had "no additional records of files (additional to those already produced) that were created or maintained by the police officers while performing their duties on behalf of the executive other than those that pertain to the pending criminal proceedings undertaken by the State Prosecutor's Office, which likely constitute evidence in that matter, and which will not be released at this time."
How do you read that? Do you think the county has more information that it should be releasing?