Special Report { High fees are keeping public information secret.

The Governor’s Travel Records: Anatomy of a Public Records Request

Photo courtesy of Gov. Neil Abercrombie via Flickr

Editor's Note: Read Civil Beat's series on the cost of Hawaii's public records here.

The arguably unreasonable cost to check up on where our governor has been traveling and what he’s been doing while he’s away was the final straw for us in the often frustrating pursuit of public information.

Here’s what happened:

On June 17, Civil Beat requested Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s travel records and related expenses dating back to the day he took office, Dec. 6, 2010.

We asked for records including itineraries for in-state and out-of-state travel, the purpose of the trip and who accompanied him, including his security detail. And, of course, any documents detailing costs and expenditures of public money in connection with the trips.

A week later, the governor’s office acknowledged it had received the request, even though the office got it the same day we sent it. Still, the law gives an agency 10 days to acknowledge a request.

Another week passed before we got the estimated bill — $1,016.

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