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Investigation concludes former governor violated records law

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  1. Freedom of Information
A lengthy investigation in Missouri has bolstered allegations that former Gov. Matt Blunt's administration violated various state open records laws, the Associated Press reports.

A lengthy investigation in Missouri has bolstered allegations that former Gov. Matt Blunt’s administration violated various state open records laws, the Associated Press reports.

A special investigation team appointed by the state attorney general in late 2007 found that Blunt’s staff was sometimes unfamiliar with the Sunshine Law and that his office policies were inadequate to the task of adhering to it. For instance, the AP reports, the team found that Blunt’s office at one point improperly denied a records request made by the Springfield News-Leader; as it turned out, Blunt’s office failed to provide e-mail messages it wrongly claimed were either sealed or non-existent.

The probe came about after Scott Eckersley, a former legal staffer in the office, claimed in a lawsuit that he had been fired for voicing concern that the office had broken public records laws. Blunt has said Eckersley was legitimately terminated for wrongful use of state resources.

To coincide with the report’s release, an unsigned response was issued on Blunt’s behalf in which he insisted his administration had followed the Sunshine Law.

"Blunt’s response contends there is a difference between documents that must be retained and records that must be turned over if retained and requested under the Sunshine Law," the AP said.

The report will not be referred to prosecutors, the AP said.