Two Paragraph Letter Tells Us Little


man textingWednesday evening, C&BP attorney Dan Barr received a two paragraph report from Judge Cole, the special master appointed to examine Commissioner Bob Stump’s text messages from his government-issued smartphone. According to Cole’s report, “none of the text messages” that the Attorney General’s investigators downloaded from Stump’s iPhone6 are “subject to production.”

But the brief report raises more questions than it answers.

The 3,598 text messages we are seeking were sent from Stump’s iPhone3, which he claims to have thrown away. We believe those text messages should have transferred to the Commissioner’s iPhone6, but Judge Cole’s report does not address that issue. Nor does Judge Cole’s report discuss whether any of the text messages he reviewed include any of the 3,598 text messages we have sought.

If Judge Cole did review the 3,598 text messages, his report does not say how many nor does it explain his reasoning for withholding any of them.

Before Cole’s examination began, the Attorney General’s office told us it would provide a letter explaining the technical methods used to examine Stump’s phone. The AG’s office told us last week we should expect that letter soon. Then we’ll be able to evaluate whether a thorough search was done on Commissioner Stump’s iPhone6.

We hope to have more answers soon.


Scott Peterson is executive director of Checks and Balances Project, a national watchdog blog that seeks to hold government officials, lobbyists and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP comes from pro-clean energy philanthropies and donors.