Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has launched an investigation into the office of his fellow Republican, Governor Eric Greitens, for the purported use of a cell phone app that allows a person to communicate secretively. A Kansas City Star report says the governor uses an alias to talk with his staff through Confide, which is an app designed to delete text messages once they’re read.
The tool also prevents recipients from saving, forwarding, printing or taking screenshots of text messages. The newspaper’s report say Greitens is using an alias called “Er Robert”.
Greitens calls the article a “non-story” from a liberal media outlet that is “just desperate for salacious headlines”. Critics say the governor’s office is trying to skirt Missouri’s open records law.
At a press conference earlier this month, Hawley said he considers work-related communication an open record, regardless of whether it’s an email or text message on a private or state-issued device. He said his office is studying whether it can investigate the governor’s office. Hawley said a 2002 Missouri Supreme Court ruling prevents his office from simultaneously representing a state officer or state agency and taking adverse legal action against that state officer or state agency. His office is currently defending the Governor’s office in a different case. The details of that case are unknown.
Earlier this month, State Sen. Scott Sifton, D-Affton, submitted a letter to Hawley calling on the Attorney General’s office to investigate the app controversy. A letter of response today to Sifton says examining the governor’s office’s reported use of the app would not be a conflict of interest.