A federal judge said Wednesday that a political action committee aligned with Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell must turn over hundreds of pages of internal documents in an ongoing lawsuit over the voting rights of Hispanic and Latino residents.
Attorneys representing the group of Hispanic voters that is suing Isbell and the city for allegedly diluting their voting rights had subpoenaed the documents from Citizens to Keep Pasadena Strong, which include internal emails between Isbell and a political consultant as well as draft campaign materials for the years 2013 to 2015.
They said the documents would help shed light on an alleged scheme by the city to change its election system, which they contend is discriminatory and violates the Voting Rights Act because they say it keeps Hispanic voters from electing candidates of their choice.
The PAC had argued that the documents aren’t relevant to the voting rights case and that the First Amendment protects such internal communications. Jeff Yates, a Republican political consultant hired by the PAC, testified at a hearing Monday that disclosing the internal communications would be detrimental to his business.
U.S. District Court Judge Lee Rosenthal issued the decree at a hearing in downtown Houston Wednesday to turn over the documents with some conditions. It’s the latest development in the voting rights lawsuit that has drawn national attention.
See here for the background. Some personally identifiable information may be redacted, and some documents may be withheld as attorney-client communications. Beyond that, the Pasadena activists ought to get to see what their Mayor has been up to. Which may turn out to be nothing of interest, who knows. I’m just glad to see the principle that campaign finances should be public has been upheld, at least for now.