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Apparently piqued at Harris’ support for the Sunshine Law, Matt Blunt asked Attorney General candidate (and current State Rep.) Jeff Harris to turn over all correspondence sent to or from Harris’ office.

Interesting how Blunt’s chief of staff Trish Vincent started the letter:

“In your campaign for attorney general,” the letter began, “you have announced your ardent support for Missouri’s Sunshine Act. I wanted to provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate that commitment by fulfilling the below open records request.” [emphasis mine]

So now Jeff Harris gets to prove his personal commitment to an issue he talks about quite a bit. In fact, on that first blogger conference call last fall, Harris talked at length about the possible interactions between an Attorney General Harris’ office and the Sunshine Law.

Harris didn’t waste any time in responding, either:

“I am a strong believer in the Sunshine Law, and that’s why I’ve sponsored legislation to make sure that records are open to the public and that Missouri’s public officials govern openly,” said Harris. “Whether they are on a town council or they are the governor of the state, public officials must understand that government records belong to the people, and not to them.”

Harris, a Democratic candidate for Attorney General, said he will comply with Blunt’s request, but he questioned obvious political motives behind the request. Blunt’s request came just one day after Harris, in a speech on the House floor, commended two state employees for standing up to the governor, whose office investigators allege made an illegal request to destroy public documents.

The full statement is below the flip.

Columbia – Today Governor Matt Blunt, in his latest shameless attempt to mask potential criminal wrongdoing in his own office, issued a Sunshine Law request for all documents from Representative Jeff Harris’ office dating back to 2003. The request is based on nothing but a blatant political effort to deflect attention away from the Governor’s own behavior.

“I have always been willing to stand up to this Governor when important principles are at stake,” said Harris. “I will continue to call for him to be held accountable for his alleged illegal actions in ordering the destruction of public records after a Sunshine law request had been filed with his office.”

Harris has been a strong champion of the Sunshine Law. He sponsored the Sunshine Law Electronic Upgrade Act, which made clear that electronic records like emails fell under the Sunshine Law. During this session, Harris has sponsored HB 2177 that would make it easier to prove Sunshine Law violations and would have expanded the scope of the law to include emails sent on wireless devices, campaign accounts, and other private accounts that directly pertained to public business. Harris has also pledged to create a Sunshine Law Enforcement Unit when he is elected Attorney General.

“I am a strong believer in the Sunshine Law, and that’s why I’ve sponsored legislation to make sure that records are open to the public and that Missouri’s public officials govern openly,” said Harris. “Whether they are on a town council or they are the governor of the state, public officials must understand that government records belong to the people, and not to them.”

Harris, a Democratic candidate for Attorney General, said he will comply with Blunt’s request, but he questioned obvious political motives behind the request. Blunt’s request came just one day after Harris, in a speech on the House floor, commended two state employees for standing up to the governor, whose office investigators allege made an illegal request to destroy public documents.