Dispute over PA GOP request to see Katie McGinty’s emails

SUSQUEHANNA TOWNSHIP, DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. -- A dispute over Pennsylvanian's right to know what government officials are doing, landed in court .

Last year, the Pennsylvania GOP filed an open records request to access emails sent by the governor's former chief of staff, Katie McGinty.

Tuesday in Commonwealth Court, much of what was discussed centered around how specific an open records request needs to be and why the right to know law is so important.

One judge struggling with the request said a request made with such broad terms equates to a request for every email.

Another commented the point of the law that people who make the requests don't know what they're looking for when they make them.

McGinty used to have an office at the state capitol, now she has her eyes on a senate seat at the U.S. Capitol.

Pennsylvania GOP Deputy Communications Director Paul Engelkemier said "really just hoping to get final determination of what was in Katie McGinty's emails before the election to know how she performed in her job, as she's continued to use the government as a revolving door to bounce from government job to private sector."

A little more than a year ago, Englekemier made an open records request to access McGinty's emails while she worked as Governor Tom Wolf's chief of staff.  Englekemier provided 109 search terms to the governor's office to which he says returned about 5,000 emails.

"We've only received 71 pages, of those emails, about 25 of which were a marketing brochure, which is not very helpful for figuring out what she was doing as chief of staff," Englekemier said.

The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records issued a split appeal to the Governor's Office, and the Pennsylvania GOP, which brought a discussion of the right to know law to Commonwealth Court.

"Hoping that we can find some resolution, that way the public can have the knowledge of what Katie McGinty was doing as chief of staff,and we will know how she was performing her job before the election to see how's she's running for us senate," Englekemier said.

While Englekemier is a Republican and McGinty is a Democrat, he believes the law doesnt take sides.

"It doesn't distinguish whether I'm from the Republican Party of Pennsylvania or I'm just an average citizen looking for information on what my government is doing on the taxpayers dime," Englekemier said.