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FW: Response to your letter re Rob Port
Voller, Sandra L. <email@example.com> Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 9:08 AM
To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
I am working on your request for opinion from Dale Wetzel/Kirsten Baesler. Below and attached are the responses I received
from Dale. It looks like from Dale’s response, the emails he had sent to J. Thomas that were not included in the emails he
forwarded to you, was a mistake on his part because he incorrectly assumed you had access to those emails and did not
need to forward them on to you as well. It looks like from everything he sent though that you have received all the emails. Do
you still want me to go forward with this opinion, or are you satisfied with the responses and all the documents you received
as of this point? Please let me know,
Assistant Attorney General
State of North Dakota
Office of the Attorney General
600 E. Boulevard Ave. Dept. 125
Bismarck, ND 58505-2226
FAX (701) 328-2226
From: Wetzel, Dale E.
Sent: Friday, May 30, 2014 6:24 PM
To: Voller, Sandra L.
Subject: Response to your letter re Rob Port
May 30, 2014
Ms. Sandra Vol l er
Assi stant Attorney General
North Dakota Attorney General
600 E. Boul evard Ave., Dept. 125
Bi smarck, ND 58505-0440
Dear Ms. Vol l er:
I am respondi ng to your May 20 l etter to my boss, Ki rsten Baesl er, the North Dakota superi ntendent of publ i c i nstructi on, because I
set up the emai l account that i s the subject of the request for an attorney general ’s opi ni on submi tted by Rob Port.
I wi l l address your questi ons i n order. Pl ease forgi ve my use of the thi rd person on occasi on. It i s i ntended to make the chronol ogy
easi er to fol l ow.
1. What is your understanding of the materials being requested by Rob Port in his records request to
your office dated May 8, 2014?
Rob wants emails from a gmail account I established, firstname.lastname@example.org. He wants 30
days’ worth of emails up to May 8, 2014. The account was established May 5, 2014.
2. Please provide a timeline and any supporting documentation outlining any communication
between you, or any other employee of DPI, with Mr. Port regarding his May 8, 2014, records request.
8:33 a.m., May 8 – Rob Port emailed Superintendent Baesler asking questions about the
email@example.com account. Port sent the email to Superintendent Baesler’s own private
gmail account. (Attachment: Rob Port Email May 8)
12:11 p.m., May 8 – Rob Port forwarded his original email to Superintendent Baesler’s North Dakota
state government account. He said that he would be hosting a radio talk show the following day, May 9,
and he wanted to have the superintendent as a guest to discuss his request. (Attachment: Rob Port
Email May 8).
6:16 p.m., May 8 – Dale Wetzel forwarded an email from the firstname.lastname@example.org account,
with the subject line “Request for Media Comment,” to Port’s email address, email@example.com.
This was an email to the firstname.lastname@example.org account from a person representing “The New
American,” which is published by the same nonprofit group that employs Duke Pesta, the anti-Common
Core speaker whom Wetzel criticized in his emails. (Attachment: Request for Media Comment May 8)
6:25 p.m., May 8 – Dale Wetzel forwarded an email from the email@example.com account,
with the subject line “Anti-Common Core speaker, Duke Pesta, looking to pad his pockets,” to Port’s
email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. (Attachment: Duke Pesta Email May 7)
The email that was forwarded to Port (the Duke Pesta Email May 7 attachment) was originally sent at
3:42 a.m. Wednesday, May 7, to a number of media outlets and some state legislators. I intended to
include Rob Port in the list of recipients, but I did not. A shortened version of the same email, with the
subject line “Questions about Duke Pesta,” was sent to the same legislators. (Attachments: Duke Pesta
Email May 7, Duke Pesta Email Shortened May 7)
When the original May 7 email was sent, it was not delivered to two recipients, one because her email
box was full and the second because the email address used was no longer operative. These “rejection”
notices are included in the file named “Duke Pesta Email May 7.” They were also separately forwarded to
7:31 p.m., May 8 – Superintendent Baesler replied to Port’s request by email and said she had asked
me, Dale Wetzel, to “comply with this request for the sake of efficiency and transparency.” (Attachment:
Baesler Email to Rob Port May 8)
11:52 p.m., May 8 – Dale Wetzel sent an email to Port responding to his questions about the
email@example.com account. The email was sent using Wetzel’s state government account,
firstname.lastname@example.org. (Attachment: Rob Port Reply May 8)
10:35 a.m., May 9 – Port responded to Wetzel’s email, asking if there had been “a decision made” about
his open-records request. He did not mention the emails that were sent to him the day before.
(Attachment: Rob Port Email May 9)
1:38 p.m., May 9 – Wetzel forwarded to Port an email he received in the
email@example.com account from the address firstname.lastname@example.org, with a note that
“this is the only email I’ve gotten on this account so far today.” That was an incorrect statement. Wetzel
neglected to check the account’s spam folder. It had two emails at that time – an email from “Mrs.
Aminata Kodjo,” who identified herself as “a sick woman, a widow without children,” that arrived at 3:14
p.m. Thursday, May 8, and a second communication from the “accounting department of the Bank of
Africa,” which arrived at 7:28 a.m. on Friday, May 9. (Attachments: Brad Schmidt Email, Spam Emails)
May 21 -- Robert Christman, the deputy superintendent of public instruction, gave Wetzel a paper copy of
a letter from Sandra Voller, an assistant attorney general, which detailed a request for an attorney
general’s opinion made by Port.
2:26 p.m., May 22 – Wetzel sent an email to Port, offering him access to the
email@example.com account to peruse at his leisure. A copy of the offer was forwarded to
Voller. Port does not respond.
3. Is the email address referred to in the records request used for DPI business? Who monitors the
The email is not used for DPI business. I began the account on May 5. I monitor it sporadically and have
not used it to send email since May 9.
4. Have any materials been provided to Mr. Port pursuant to the May 8, 2014, records request?
Please specify what materials have been provided and provide a copy of such records.
See the answer to question No. 2. Copies of the records provided to Port are attached to this email.
5. When were emails provided in response to Mr. Port’s open records request? On this day, how
many emails were within the inbox, sent, or otherwise in the account of the
The emails were provided to Port on May 8 and May 9. On May 9, there were 12 emails in the account’s
“Sent Mail” box, six emails in the account’s “Inbox,” and two emails in the account’s “spam” box. No emails
have been deleted from any of those boxes since the account was opened.
6. Have you refused to provide any records to Mr. Port? Please specify what materials you have refused
I did not provide Port with the two emails in the account’s spam folder. That was an oversight. I did not
think to look there in response to his request. I am certainly willing to provide these if he is interested in
I also did not send Port copies of emails from the account that I sent to a Fargo radio talk show, “The Jay
Thomas Show.” Port is a guest host of the show, has access to the show’s emails, and was scheduled to
host the show on May 9, the day after he made his original request. I did not think it was necessary to
forward to him emails that he already had. I should have sent those to Port anyway, but I did not.
Your question is, did I refuse to provide any records to Mr. Port? The answer is no.
7. If any materials have been withheld pursuant to this records request, what is the basis of the refusal? If
you are claiming any of the emails in the firstname.lastname@example.org account at the time of Mr.
Port’s records request were not regarding public business, please describe the content of such emails
and outline your reasoning as to why such content does not relate to DPI business.
I did not intend to withhold any materials from the email@example.com account. I have not
sent the “spam” emails to Rob since discovering them, but I certainly would be willing to do so. As you
know, I have also offered him unfettered access to the firstname.lastname@example.org account. So, no
materials have been withheld pursuant to this records request.
8. Did any employee from DPI receive a records request by any other person in May 2014, for any
correspondence from the email@example.com account? Please describe. Were records
provided in response to such request(s)? Were any records provided to other requestors that were not
provided to Mr. Port? If so, please provide a reasoning why the records were not also provided to Mr.
To my knowledge, no other person has made a request for records from the
firstname.lastname@example.org account. With that said, I have not opened any emails that have come
into the account since May 11. No such requests have come into my state government email account,
As you know, I have provided the information necessary to use the email@example.com
account to you. No one else has that information besides me. So, any other person who receives a
request for records from the account would not be able to execute it.
Thank you for your time. I hope this letter is helpful to you.
Public Information Officer
North Dakota Department of Public Instruction
State Capitol, 11th Floor
600 E. Boulevard Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58505-0440
Office Phone: 701-328-2247
Cell Phone: 701-400-8557
Baesler Email To Rob Port May 8.pdf
Brad Schmidt Email.pdf
Duke Pesta Email May 7.pdf
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