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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mo. AG says department didn't violate Sunshine Law in E. coli case

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says the Department of Natural Resources didn't violate open records law because no one filed a formal request for the testing results, which showed high levels of E. coli in Lake of the Ozarks, the News-Leader reported. Koster said he thinks former DNR Deputy Director Joe Bindbeutel made a "mistake" in delaying the release of the report for four weeks. Although internal DNR e-mails indicate that Bindbeutel requested a copy of the report to take to a meeting with the governor, the governor's office denies that the meeting was about E. coli. Although media requests were made for these reports, the DNR officials didn't view them as official Sunshine request.
Attorney General Chris Koster says the Department of Natural Resources didn't violate the state's open records law in delaying the release of a report showing high levels of E. coli in Lake of the Ozarks.

Koster's office has been investigating allegations that DNR violated the Sunshine Law, which is meant to give citizens and the media access to public documents upon request.

But since no one filed a formal Sunshine Law request for the monthly testing results, Koster's investigator concluded there's no evidence a law was broken.
More here.

See the full PDF of the AG's report here.

View the letter DPS sent the News-Leader requesting seven more business days to review its request for video footage from the governor's office here.

Also, AG Chris Koster: No Sunshine Law violation in E. coli-gate, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Delayed data on E. coli at lake was wrong, not illegal, Koster says
, Kansas City Star: "A DNR e-mail obtained by The Kansas City Star shows that the agency understood it had received numerous requests for test results. According to the e-mail by a DNR employee: 'In a nutshell, I have had email inquires from four reporters since May 26 and phone calls from those four plus a couple others … for information, interviews or data.'”

Koster has more work to do on E-coli scare at Lake of the Ozarks
, Kansas City Star: "Specifically, Koster didn't have all the facts he needed before concluding that the DNR did not violate the Sunshine Law regarding pollution reports about the Lake of the Ozarks. Koster told a Kansas City Star reporter on Thursday that he did not know of a DNR e-mail that detailed requests for the information about E-coli levels in the lake back in late May. He said he would look into the new information, and he should."

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