The conservative magazine National Review is suing Nevada’s Department of Insurance to obtain records of nearly a dozen Silver State Exchange program workers who might have criminal histories. The Las Vegas Review- Journal has joined the lawsuit.
Filed Friday in Carson City District Court, the lawsuit comes nearly seven weeks after a reporter for the bi- monthly magazine was repeatedly denied information by the Division of Insurance. Attorneys J. Colby Williams and Donald J. Campbell are representing the Review-Journal.
According to the lawsuit, National Review investigative reporter Jillian Melchior asked division spokesman Jake Sunderland whether he could explain how the Division of Insurance might have hired workers with criminal backgrounds as “navigators” to help enroll Nevada residents in the exchange program under the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
But Sunderland, the lawsuit claims, “refused to provide any meaningful assistance and instead became extremely aggravated and, in fact, hung up the telephone on Ms. Melchior.”
Attorneys for the two publications contend that the information is a matter of public record that, by law, can be disseminated under the Nevada Public Records Act.
They state that the navigators deal with highly confidential information, including Social Security numbers, and any convicted criminals who obtain such information could “pose a significant threat to the privacy and safety” of Silver State Exchange participants.
“The purpose of the (Nevada Public Records Act) is to ensure the accountability of the government to the public by facilitating public access to vital information about governmental activities,” the lawsuit states.