- Associated Press - Thursday, September 11, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Washington County attorney who said he was too busy to follow the state’s public records law faces a $1,000 fine for the violation.

Iowa Administrative Law Judge Margaret LaMarche issued the recommendation for the fine against Larry Brock this week. It’s the minimum he faced if convicted of violating the law, The Des Moines Register reported (http://dmreg.co/1BvRZog ).

“The preponderance of the evidence in the record supports the conclusion that (Brock) knowingly participated in a violation of (Iowa law),” LaMarche wrote.

Brock testified in August that he was too busy to respond to a public records request made in March by Robert Bellmer. The former Washington County park ranger had sought four months’ worth of emails between Brock and a conservation board. Brock fulfilled the request in June.

State law requires Iowa officials to provide access to public records within 10 business days. As a general rule of thumb, most agencies and governments are supposed to do so as soon as they can.

State officials said Brock’s busy schedule wasn’t an acceptable excuse. They submitted evidence that showed Brock had initially ignored numerous requests to respond to Bellmer.

Brock, who lost his Republican primary in June, is the first public official to be charged by the year-old Iowa Public Information Board for knowingly violating the state’s public records law, according to the newspaper. His term expires at the end of the year.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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