UNITED STATES NEWS

Missouri ordered to pay $242K for open records law violations while Josh Hawley was attorney general

Jun 29, 2023, 12:50 PM | Updated: 2:56 pm

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri attorney general’s office has been ordered to pay $242,000 in legal fees for violations of the state’s open records law that occurred when U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley held the office.

Circuit Judge Jon Beetem ruled in November 2022 that the attorney general’s office violated the open records law when documents were withheld from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee during the Republican Hawley’s successful Senate campaign in 2018.

Beetem ruled Wednesday that the office must pay $242,000 in legal fees, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

“A big win for transparency, election fairness, and the rule of law,” Mark Pedroli, who represented the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said on Twitter.

Pedroli suggested that Hawley should apologize and pay the bill with proceeds from his book, “Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs.”

Hawley’s spokesman, Kyle Plotkin, responded that Democrats should return the money and apologize to Missourians for continuing the lawsuit after the requested documents were produced.

In 2017, the Democrats sought records of correspondence between Hawley’s political consultants, OnMessage Inc., and employees of the attorney general’s office.

The correspondence involved public business, Beetem said in his ruling. The judge said the then-records correspondent, Danie Hartman, has the records and knew his responsibilities under the law but told the Democrats the office had none of the requested records.

Beetem said the office also had documents corresponding to the Democrats’ second request in March 2018.

Beetem noted that The Kansas City Star obtained records between the attorney general’s office and OnMessage Inc. and reported in October 2018 that political consultants had helped to lead Hawley’s office.

“By failing to produce the requested records, Mr. Hartman and the AGO prevented an opposing party committee from accessing documents potentially damaging to then-Attorney General Hawley’s political campaign,” Beetem wrote.

The American Democracy Legal Fund then complained to Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft that Hawley appeared to have used public funds as attorney general to support his Senate campaign.

Ashcroft, a Republican, investigated the complaint but cleared Hawley’s campaign of any misconduct.

Money to pay the fees typically comes from the state’s Legal Expense Fund, which is financed by the state’s general tax dollars.

United States News

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip walk through a mak...

Associated Press

Rifts seem to appear between Israel’s political and military leadership over conduct of the Gaza war

In a rare public rift between the country’s leadership, an Israeli army spokesman appeared to question the goal of destroying Hamas.

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Probe finds carelessness caused Jewish student group’s omission from New Jersey high school yearbook

An investigation into how and why a Jewish student group was erased from a New Jersey high school yearbook found the omission was caused by negligence and carelessness, but was not done on purpose or out of malice, the school district announced Wednesday. East Brunswick Public Schools hired a law firm to investigate after the […]

6 hours ago

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday, June 18, 2024, that he wants to restrict students' ...

Associated Press

California governor wants to restrict smartphone usage in schools

Gavin Newsom announced he wants to restrict students' usage of phones during the school day, citing the mental health risks of social media.

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Shooting in Philadelphia wounds 7 people, police say

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Seven people were wounded Wednesday evening in a shooting in Philadelphia, police said. The shooting happened just before 6:30 p.m. in North Philadelphia. The victims include a 19-year-old man who was shot in the leg, a 31-year-old woman shot in the hand, a 23-year-old man shot in the buttock, and two women […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Boaters find $1 million of cocaine floating off Florida Keys

MIAMI (AP) — Recreational boaters found $1 million worth of cocaine floating in the ocean off the Florida Keys. Samuel Briggs II, the acting chief patrol agent of the U.S. Border Patrol, wrote about the find in a social media post on X. Briggs posted video Monday night showing the wrapped packages of cocaine being […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

Police credit New Yorkers for suspect’s arrest in the rape of a 13-year-old girl

NEW YORK (AP) — Residents of a New York City neighborhood were praised for their role in the arrest of an Ecuadorian accused of raping a 13-year-old girl, a crime that the city’s police commissioner said “shocked our entire city.” Christian Geovanny Inga-Landi, 25, was arrested early Tuesday outside a deli in Corona, Queens. He […]

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Missouri ordered to pay $242K for open records law violations while Josh Hawley was attorney general