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about 8 months ago
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Bagwell’s Sunshine Fund Contributions Total $13,000 in Open Records Fight

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Board of Trustees candidate Ryan Bagwell began the “Sunshine Fund” to help finance his fight with Penn State in court over open records. As of yesterday, Bagwell said he is $5 away from reaching $13,000 in total contributions. After deducting credit card and PayPal fees, the fund’s net contributions total $12,641.

None of the money has been spent yet, although Bagwell says a bill from his lawyers is on its way. The remaining funds were intended to be spent during the appeals process regarding a court decision reached last month. The deadline unexpectedly passed without any such filing from Penn State or the governor, freeing up that money for Bagwell to use on other appeals.

Those remaining funds will be spent on the following, according to Bagwell:

“First up is a challenge to a decision that allowed the Department of Education to withhold 150 pages of emails and other documents between Ken Frazier, Ron Tomalis, Louis Freeh and others. On Thursday, appealed that ruling to the Commonwealth Court, arguing that Penn State waived the attorney-client privilege when it allowed Louis Freeh to “continuously interface” with five state and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as the NCAA.

“Also looming is another appeal of a request for public records from the Attorney General’s office. A final response for that office is due Wednesday. Unfortunately, the initial denial must first be appealed to the same agency that denied it in the first place – the attorney general’s office. But that will pave the way for another appeal to the Commonwealth Court, which will independently review the case and decide whether the records must be released.”

Bagwell has become well known for his Right to Know Law requests — 26 of them, according to his website – to obtain documents relating to the business of the Board of Trustees and the university. Just last week, Gov. Tom Corbett’s office released 88 pages of documents. The records show how the Corbett administration — previously inactive in Board governance — tried to shape a key board statement about why it fired Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier.

“Slowly, we’re making progress,” Bagwell wrote in his update. “Keep the faith, and don’t give up.”

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