Democrats called to release emails
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Democrats called to release emails

Date: November 14, 2007
By: Lucie Wolken
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - The ongoing email battles in Missouri's statehouse took a dramatic step Wednesday.  Missouri GOP spokesman Paul Sloca sent formal letters demanding that 19 Democratic legislators release "all" office email communication from the past three years.

"There has been a lot of sanctimonious talk from Democrats from Jay Nixon on down about the Sunshine Law and about how open they want government to be, well this is their chance to walk the walk and talk the talk," Sloca said. 

The 19 legislators all hold Democratic leadership positions in either the House or the Senate.  Fourteen of the requests were made to members of the House, and the remaining five to members of the state Senate. 

Sloca's request asked for "copies of all emails sent by or to you or by or to your staff, deleted or undeleted, within the last three years or whenever you were sworn into office, whichever is earlier."

The request is the latest escalation of events surrounding the firing of former attorney to the governor, Scott Eckersley.

The House Democratic leader, Rep. Paul Levota, D- Kansas City, called the request harassment and an attempt to distract from the pressure directed at the governor's office. 

"It's an attempt to try to harass Democrats into stop talking about the issue," Levota said.  "We believe in open government.  We believe in transparent government, so I have instructed every single one of my caucus members to be very cooperative and to comply fully with the Sunshine request.  That is what good government is about and that is what we intend to do.

Levota's office received one of the Sunshine Law requests.

In addition to going after state Democrats, Sloca filed a Sunshine Law Tuesday to request emails from Sen. Claire McCaskill office sent during her last 60 days serving as Missouri auditor.  

"If openness in government is so important to McCaskill, then she should gladly turn over office emails her office sent and received," Sloca said in a press release.

The request comes after McCaskill publicly commented on state policies on the retention and deletion of emails.

Sloca called McCaskill's comments "a politically-motivated attack" in the press release. 

According to Adrian Marsh, spokeswoman for Sen. McCaskill said that the U.S. senator considered the GOP request an attempted distraction.

"Claire is confident and has been assured that the state auditors office will reply to the request made to them by the Missouri Republican Party for records under their custody and control pursuant to the Sunshine Law," Marsh said.

Marsh said that how best to deliver all the records is being discussed due to the high cost it will be to taxpayers.  Under Missouri's public records law, a processing and duplication fee can be charged for a records request.

Levota expressed confidence in his party in handling the individual requests.

"I think there will be a clear difference between what the governor has done with his office and the email trouble he's been having lately," Levota said.

Sloca said that there should be a standard for Democrats for the Sunshine Law as well as for Republicans.

"It is the law, they should comply, simple as that," Sloca said.