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State Sen. Requests Investigation Into Governor's App Use

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A Democratic Senator is asking Missouri's Attorney General to investigate Gov. Eric Greitens and his staff. Specifically, their use of an app that destroys messages after they're read. 
    
After an article in the Kansas City star revealed the Governor and his staff were using this app to communicate, State Senator Scott Sifton sent a letter to the office of Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley asking for an investigation into the Governor's use of the app called Confide. 

"We have Sunshine Laws for a reason and the Governor needs to follow them," said State Senator Scott Sifton.  

Messages sent through the app disappear and are immediately after they're read, and never saved. 

"We want records of government deliberation, actions and decision to be preserved for public consumption, that's why we have a Sunshine Law, that's why we have a Records Law," Sen. Sifton said. "And when there's concern that they are not being followed by the highest-ranking executive in our state that's something we need to look into." 

Doctor Brian Calfano, KOLR's political analyst, says communication via such apps and text messages would not be searchable under a Sunshine Law request. 

"The law hasn't been updated to include text messages," Dr. Brian Calfano. 

Missouri's Sunshine Law only specifies emails. 

"These may be private texts regarding private matters that have nothing to do with state government. Of course, the problem is that there might be texts that have to do with state government matters. And that's the concern." 

In the letter, Sen. Sifton asks the Attorney General to identify any modifications needed to Missouri laws to ensure transparency in Jeff City. 

"People don't want the government being done and decided upon in secret," he said. 

And Dr.  Calfano says a change in the state's Sunshine laws is the only way something can be done in this case.  

"Technically, the governor isn't violating any kind of existing law. Politically, it opens up questions about what's going on and why would you wanna delete all of those texts?" he said.  

Only three states explicitly mention text messages in their Sunshine laws. In the letter, Sen. Sifton also mentioned Attorney General Jay Nixon investigated electronic record practices of then-governor matt blunt back in 2007. 
 


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