By Matt Murphy
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
STATE HOUSE -- After nearly two months of waiting for Secretary of State William Galvin's office to produce an accounting of how much money the secretary has spent on public service announcements since he took office two decades ago, Galvin's Republican challenger David D'Arcangelo is calling "outrageous" the $5,300 bill he has been asked to pay to see the public records.
D'Arcangelo, a Malden city councilor, requested in April copies and cost breakdowns of all the TV advertisements Galvin has run since 1995, calling them "flashy, campaign style commercials" paid for with taxpayer dollars.
Galvin's office initially told D'Arcangelo that he filed his request with the wrong office, and now Administrative Services Budget Director Paul McCarthy is telling D'Arcangelo's campaign that it will cost $5,300 for the office to produce the requested documents.
Custodians of public records are allowed to charge for the labor costs associated with complying with a public records request. In a letter dated Monday, McCarthy wrote that the "expansive" request from D'Arcangleo spanning 19 years includes records "not susceptible to ordinary means of reproduction" and requires a search through a state accounting system "not currently in use."
McCarthy suggested D'Arcangelo could reduce the cost if his request was "more narrowly tailored."
D'Arcangleo on Thursday said he is being given the "runaround" by Galvin.
"The taxpayers of the Commonwealth deserve to know how much of our hard-earned money has been spent on these PSA's during his two decade reign as Secretary," D'Arcangelo said in a statement, adding, "No wonder people have such little faith in government. It's not right. Charging someone $5,300 to gain access to an open public record is outrageous."
Galvin is running for a sixth four-year term as secretary of state.
A spokesman for D'Arcangelo's campaign said the candidate has the money to pay for the records, but had earmarked those funds for other purposes. "We won't pay it immediately, no. We're trying to raise the money now," said Scott Ciccone.
The secretary of state's office is responsible for a wide variety of functions in addition to overseeing elections, including securities enforcement, lobbyist registration and oversight, and providing general information to connect citizens with government at all levels. Some of that information is provided online or through brochures like the voter information guide mailed to voters' homes.
Galvin has routinely over the years appeared in television advertisements encouraging people to vote or alerting them to potential securities fraud schemes, and his office has defended the expense as a public service alerting residents to important civic information.
D'Arcangelo told the News Service in May that if he is elected he would not run public service announcements on television. "You will not see me putting my face on TV," D'Arcangelo said.