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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Guv to AG: Those E-Mails Will Cost A Half-Million

The endlessly entertaining saga of the missing e-mails takes another turn:

Attorney General Jay Nixon said Saturday that Gov. Matt Blunt is demanding a "hugely exorbitant" amount of money for e-mail records sought by his appointed investigators.

Blunt has told Nixon's special investigators that they must pay nearly $541,000 to obtain governor's office e-mails from a backup system. Nixon suggested the charge was inappropriate.

"I think they should make these documents available publicly, and they should do so quickly," Nixon said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Last fall, Nixon appointed a three-person team to look into whether Blunt's office was violating the state's open-records law or document retention policies by deleting some e-mails.

That came after former Blunt legal counsel Scott Eckersley claimed he was fired for advising the governor's office it was violating the open-records law by not retaining some e-mails. Eckersley has sued Blunt for wrongful firing and defamation.

The Republican governor has said Eckersley was fired for justifiable reasons, including doing private work with state resources, and has dismissed the Democratic attorney general's appointed investigation as political.

Nixon is running for governor, though Blunt is not seeking re-election.

Nixon asserted Saturday that he has allowed the investigators to act independently and that he knows nothing about the details of their records requests to Blunt's office nor about the specific reasons why the governor's office has not turned over the requested e-mails.

More here.

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