In the final hours of Eric Greitens’ tenure as Missouri Governor on Friday, a lawsuit revealed that 20 members of Greitens’ office had been using text message deleting-app, Confide – a much larger number than the 8 found by Attorney General Josh Hawley.
The ongoing lawsuit was filed by attorney Mark Pedroli on behalf of the Sunshine Project and alleges that Greitens destroyed government records through his use of Confide. Under Missouri law 610.027, the Attorney General has the power to file a lawsuit in the case of potential Sunshine Law violations. Enforcing this law would have enabled Hawley to collect the same information obtained by Pedroli’s suit, yet Hawley cleared the Governor of wrongdoing rather than press forward with a lawsuit for answers. Hawley has not disclosed why he declined to sue.
Hawley’s investigation was widely panned as “half-hearted” and “a disservice to all Missourians.” Hawley did not attempt to retrieve any Confide messages, relied only on staff testimony, and did not attempt to interview the Governor or challenge Greitens’ assertion of executive privilege.
Pedroli has said he will press forward with his lawsuit, telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that “It’s been my theory all along that Confide was used to do public business.”