In a New York magazine article last month, Gabriel Sherman reported that Fox New chairman Roger Ailes had called New Jersey governor and Republican darling Chris Christie to encourage him to run for president. Soon after, Gawker's John Cook filed a request under New Jersey's Open Records Act for "any correspondence between the two men, as well as any records of meetings or phone calls with Ailes from Christie's schedule or call logs." They got an interesting response: Christie's office denied the request on the basis of executive privilege, saying any records "would be exempt from disclosure...based upon the executive privilege and well-settled case law."
Cook notes that officials like Christie have lots of reasons to deny records request. If Ailes was just Christie's pal, he could have invoked a privacy claim. But executive privilege is meant to cover the "executive function" of the New Jersey's governor, thus classifying Ailes as a "confidential adviser." "What is unusual" Cook explains, "is [Christie's] attempt to use it to cover conversations with someone who is, ostensibly at least, a news executive. It amounts to a rather bald admission that Ailes provides Christie with political advice."
Ailes issued a statement saying, "Whatever the Governor wants to do is his business."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.