Blunt E-mails Are Public Record

1 decade 8 months 23 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2007 Sep 19, 2007 Wednesday, September 19, 2007 2:36:03 PM CDT September 19, 2007 in News

Emails and Governor Blunt's office are at the heart of one argument.

The other involves a lawsuit against the Missouri Ethics Commission.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that Blunt's staff regularly purges e-mails, but won't reveal what is contained in those deleted messages.

Tuesday, Attorney General Jay Nixon's office reminded Blunt and other state officials that e-mails are public records and fall under Missouri's open record laws.

Any personal e-mails can be deleted.

But e-mails dealing with state business must be saved for three years.

Representative Jeff Harris of Columbia helped pass legislation to include emails in Missouri's open records law.

He says it's about making sure technology doesn't provide a way around the law.

"With persons communicating as much by e-mail, sometimes even more by e-mail, than we do by traditional hard copy letter correspondence, we clarified that e-mails are still subject to Sunshine laws.  It's important to make sure that we take into account advances in technology, that we've had over the last several years," said  Harris.

KOMU tried to contact Governor Blunt's office. No one returned our phone calls.

This issue on e-mails is more of a discussion.

Tuesday a Cole County judge heard a lawsuit against the Missouri Ethics Commission.

The Missouri Republican Party claims the Ethics Commission violated Sunshine Laws when it closed part of its meeting last week.

Tuesday a circuit court judge heard arguments from both sides.

The Republican Party charges the Ethics Commission is at fault for going into closed session when it notified the public it would be an open meeting.

The Missouri Ethics Commission countered, saying it needed privacy to have a conversation with its lawyer.

The meeting was to discuss what to do about the Supreme Court decision to over turn new campaign finance laws.

"The individual candidates themselves were affected by this, they had no real opportunity to determine what the deliberations of the commission were that was going to affect them," said Harvey Tettlebaum, Attorney for the Missouri Republican Party. "All they knew was what the commission did, but they didn't know why the commission did it."

The attorney for the ethics commission refused to comment.

The judge did not make a decision about the case.

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