Friday, November 16, 2007

Blunt Counsel Calls Nixon's Investigation "Political"

An attorney for Gov. Matt Blunt is calling Attorney General Jay Nixon's appointment of a special investigative team "political."

Attorney General Jay Nixon appointed former superintendent of the Highway Patrol Mel Fisher to head up the special investigative team to look into whether Gov. Matt Blunt's office or the Office of Administration did not follow Missouri’s records retention and Sunshine laws.

Nixon said Fisher and the team will look into "multiple allegations."

On Friday afternoon, Blunt general counsel Henry Herschel fired off a letter to Nixon and media outlets, accusing the Attorney General of using his public office "as an appendage of your political campaign."

"Your appointment of a supposedly 'independent' committee to investigate our office less than a year before next November's election is unprecedented. There is no reason to believe your appointments represent a serious effort at inquiry independent of you or your political campaign," Herschel wrote.

The Blunt administration is requesting that Nixon explain "in writing" what authority he has to appoint someone to conduct such an investigation.

"Since you have chosen to waste taxpayer money in support of your political campaign, we feel compelled to hire conflict counsel to interact with the paid staff that will apparently make inquiries of the office," Herschel said, adding that he expects Nixon's office to cover the cost.

"It is embarrassing that you have chosen again to use your office to play politics and misuse the taxpayers' money," Herschel said.

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