Senator demands investigation into Greitens use of Confide app

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ST. LOUIS - Sen. Scott Sifton, D-Afton, sent a letter to Attorney General Josh Hawley Friday demanding an investigation into use of the messaging app Confide by Gov. Eric Greitens and his staff.

No one in Greitens' office would comment again Friday on the use of the app, which deletes correspondence almost immediately after it is read.

Both democratic lawmakers and the ACLU are concerned the use of the app is a direct violation of Missouri Sunshine Laws.

Sifton said, “It’s a great concern that executive branch decisions are not only being made behind a cloak of secrecy, but that the people’s business is being done in a way where we’ll never know what was said or done, and that’s not record preservation, that’s record destruction.”

In his letter, Sifton said the Trump administration is banned from using the app.

"Shortly after taking office, the new administration in Washington eschewed the legality of Confide under federal record-keeping laws," he said.

Sifton said Missouri has experienced something similar before.

"In 2007 and 2008, appointees of your office, under then-Attorney General Jay Nixon, investigated the electronic record retention practices of then-Governor Matt Blunt. The Office of Attorney General was then, as it is now, empowered to investigate the Governor's office's compliance - or lack thereof - with Missouri's Sunshine Law." 

ACLU Missouri Executive Director Jeffrey A. Mittman said, “The Sunshine Law exists to protect the public by requiring their government conducts the people’s business in an open, ethical manner. This is to ensure that the government acts in the interest of the public it was created to serve.”

Mittman described the secretive nature of the app as “a betrayal of the public’s trust.” 

He said, “We call on public officials to hold themselves accountable by pledging to Missourians that their government is operating in the open.”

KOMU reached out to the Attorney General’s office and 10 republican lawmakers for comment on this story. None of them returned our calls.

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