Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Blunt Now Seeks Nixon's Back-Up Tapes

FLASHBACK VIDEO: "I don't believe there's been an intentional violation . . ." -- Gov. Matt Blunt on March 13, 2008

UPDATED 5:40 P.M. In the heat of a lawsuit targeting himself and several of his top staff, Gov. Matt Blunt's office is pressuring Attorney General Jay Nixon for all of his office's e-mail backup tapes.

Blunt Chief of Staff Trish Vincent said the Governor has saved every e-mail backup tape available since August 28th 2007.

“Given Attorney General Nixon’s grandstanding and legal antics on the issue of e-mail we would assume he has retained all of his e-mail backup tapes so now we are asking him to produce every e-mail backup tape he and his office has retained. We are also asking that he submit every tape created since August 28, 2007, as soon as possible and others may follow," Vincent said.

“Jay Nixon’s refusal to join with Governor Blunt and save all e-mails is disturbing as is his refusal to join the new e-mail retention and retrieval system that Governor Blunt is creating,” she added.

Nixon has said that his office is complying with requests for thousands of documents, but that it takes time. He has declined to sign on to Blunt's policy of saving all e-mails forever.

Reaction continues to flow in over the lawsuit filed in a Cole County court yesterday that claims that Gov. Matt Blunt or his top staff ordered the destruction of e-mails. The Blunt administration is calling the suit political because the investigators filing the suit were appointed by Democratic rival Attorney General Jay Nixon. Spokesperson Jessica Robinson told the Kansas City Star, "Now that this issue is in litigation, we're not going to provide daily running commentary."

We dug up the last opportunity we asked Gov. Blunt about the Sunshine Law. You can watch what he said above.

Unsurprisingly, The Missouri Democratic Party called the allegations in the lawsuit serious.

"Nobody in Missouri is above the law, and that certainly includes Gov. Blunt,” said Jack Cardetti, Missouri Democratic Party spokesman, in a statement. “The Governor has a responsibility to tell the people of Missouri whether he or members of his staff ordered these tapes to be erased. These are serious allegations and the public’s trust is at stake.”

Scott Eckersley, the former Blunt administration attorney, who claims he was fired because he raised questions about the e-mail policy tells the KY3 Political Notebook that this lawsuit vindicates his position.

"I think the thing probably speaks for itself. It's nice to not be the only one out there saying this. The allegations are so specific, it's going to be hard for them to just say it's political," Eckersley said. "Anyone that's been paying attention to this would have to see that my name's been cleared," Eckersley said.

He added that it was "too bad" he had to continue to pursue a lawsuit. "Everyone would be better to just start telling the truth. It's embarrassing," Eckersley said Tuesday.

By Tuesday afternoon, the Blunt administration announced it had sent its own letter to Attorney General Jay Nixon about his office's refusal to produce documents requested by Blunt's office.

Blunt's letter to Nixon "asked why they continue their obstructive stance to this request by producing multiple copies of the same document and thousands of non-responsive documents that among other things relate to the functioning of microwaves in Nixon’s office, the quality of the burgers and fries at Mike’s Corner Pocket and Six Flags discount coupons. Especially troubling is Nixon’s failure to produce any evidence that his office had an e-mail policy prior to this January 1, 2008."

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