Missouri's attorney general said Wednesday that he will look into whether Republican Gov. Eric Greitens and his staff are breaking the state's open records laws by using a secretive app that deletes messages after they're read.
Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican who is running for U.S. Senate against Claire McCaskill, announced the decision in a letter to the St. Louis-area Democratic state senator who requested the investigation.
The Kansas City Star reported earlier this month that Greitens and some staffers use the app Confide, which deletes messages and prevents users from taking screenshots. It's unclear whether the governor and his staff are using the app for state business, personal use or campaign work.
Greitens spokesman Parker Briden told KCUR in an emailed statement that the review "will show that we follow the law."
Briden also said in the statement that "only records relating to 'official business' must be retained" under state law, and that doesn't include "drafts, non-decisionmaking documents" and other pieces of information, adding that once a record is retained, it "may be subject to the Sunshine Law if it relates to public business."
Hawley said in his letter that Missouri residents "deserve a state government that is open, transparent and accountable.”
Greitens has been criticized by politicians on both sides of the aisle since taking office almost a year ago over everything from his handling of appointees to the state Board of Education to his creation of a nonprofit, A New Missouri, Inc., that is meant to call attention to Greitens' political priorities and doesn't have to disclose its donors.
Erica Hunzinger is the editor of Harvest Public Media and a contributor to KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter @ehunzinger