Democratic State Sen. Scott Sifton’s call on Attorney General Josh Hawley to investigate Governor Eric Greitens has been answered. In a letter two weeks ago from Sifton he called on Hawley to investigate whether Greitens’ alleged use of a text messaging app to secretly communicate with staff violates open records laws. Sifton tells Missourinet he will wait and see if Hawley’s office can do an independent investigation of a fellow Republican.
“I’m pleased to see the attorney general move forward with an investigation after two weeks of public pressure. Missourians deserve transparency in all aspects of government, but especially in our state’s highest office,” says Sifton. “Obviously, myself and many others are going to be watching very closely what unfolds. I’m not going to prejudge an investigation that hasn’t happened yet. For today, I’m just pleased that we’re moving forward with an investigation.”
A Kansas City Star report this month says the governor uses the Confide app with the alias “Er Robert” to discuss official business with members of his office. The tool Greitens is purportedly using is designed to delete text messages once they’re read. It also prevents recipients from saving, forwarding, printing or taking screenshots of text messages.
Greitens calls the newspaper article a “non-story” from a liberal media outlet that is “just desperate for salacious headlines”.
Sifton indicates some state lawmakers plan to propose changes to open records and retention laws, including when modern technology is involved.
“I think it’s in the best interest of all Missourians for our state to take a good, long look at what modern technology means for transparency and government and move forward to make sure that we hold all of our elected leaders accountable regardless of party,” says Sifton.
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.