Posted on Oct 15, 1999 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 99-04
October 15, 1999
Attempted Disclosure of Government Record While OIP Opinion Was Pending

A requester who was refused access to health insurance contracts with a community hospital asked the OIP for an opinion on whether the information requested was public. While the OIP opinion letter (No. 98-2) was still being drafted, the requester had discussions with a State senator about these contracts.

The Senator requested, and was given, a copy of the hospital’s contract with the insurance company. The requester alleged that the Senator then attempted to give the contract to him, but he refused to take the copy.

The requester asked the OIP whether the Senator violated section 84-12, Hawaii Revised Statutes, by obtaining a copy of the contract under section 92F-19, Hawaii Revised Statutes, and then attempting to give a copy to the requester.

Section 92F-19 allows agencies to share private or confidential information with the legislature or a county council. Section 84-12 forbids legislators from disclosing confidential information acquired in the course of the legislator’s official duties.

The OIP opined that the Senator did not violate chapter 92F because the information he attempted to give to the requester was always public (see OIP Opinion Letter No. 98-2, April 24, 1998). The OIP cannot opine on whether the Senator violated chapter 84, Hawaii Revised Statutes, as it is outside the scope of the OIP’s jurisdiction.

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