Anyone can request an opinion regarding a public entity’s violation of the open records or open meetings law – simply send a letter or an email with the facts of the alleged violation, including the name of the public entity and the date of the alleged violation. You must provide your name and contact information. We cannot accept anonymous requests. We cannot address alleged violations of Marsy’s Law.
- For alleged open record violations, you will also need to provide a copy of the entity’s response to your request for records (if you received one) and your actual request (if it was made in writing).
- Send a letter to: Office of Attorney General, 600 E. Boulevard Ave, Dept. 125, Bismarck ND 58505.
We must receive a request for an opinion on an alleged violation that the public entity held a meeting without providing public notice within 90 days of the alleged violation, regardless of the date on which the requester became aware of the violation. For all other alleged violations of the open meetings laws and any alleged violations of the open records laws, we must receive the opinion request within 30 days of the alleged violation.
After we receive a timely request, our first step is to send a copy of the complaint to the public entity and ask it to respond to the allegations in the complaint and provide any additional information we have requested. The public entity has only a short period of time within which to respond. After we receive the entity’s response, the opinion drafting process begins.
- We are required by law to base our opinion on the facts provided by the public entity.
The opinion process generally takes around 120 to 180 days. The opinion is issued to the public entity with a copy to the requester. If the Attorney General finds a violation, the entity has seven days to take the required corrective action.
- Even if the opinion finds that the public entity violated the open meetings law, the opinion cannot change, void, or overrule a decision of, or action taken by, the public entity.