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The Associated Press reports this:

Mo. gov’s office settles e-mail deletion lawsuit


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Gov. Matt Blunt’s office will turn over thousands of pages of e-mails to inspectors for the state attorney general’s office to settle a lawsuit accusing Blunt and other officials of “knowingly and purposely” violating the state’s open records law, the two sides announced Tuesday.

Under the deal, Blunt’s office must turn over e-mails from the accounts of the outgoing Republican governor and five staffers from a three-month period in 2007. The same e-mail records were released last month to news organizations that had joined the lawsuit against the governor’s office to pursue independent open-record requests.

In exchange for the e-mails, the special investigators agreed they wouldn’t refile the lawsuit.

Blunt admitted to no wrongdoing…

[emphasis added]

That reads to me like some sort of legal impasse was resolved – the special investigators got what they wanted.

And then there’s spin. The office of Missouri Governor Matt “baby” Blunt issued this press release:


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Contact: Jessica Robinson…

Gov. Blunt Proven Correct After Thirteen Months of False Accusations Over E-Mail

         JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Matt Blunt’s office was proven correct today after thirteen months of false accusations initiated by an e-mail team created by Jay Nixon. Gov. Blunt, who was never questioned in the case, received the strongest possible dismissal making it clear that these false accusations can never be made against him again.

         In addition to the governor, all four public servants in the Blunt administration who were falsely accused by Jay Nixon’s e-mail team have also been dismissed and vindicated.  This 13 month long political campaign over e-mail has cost Missouri taxpayers more than $600,000.

         “Finally, after making false accusation after false accusation and wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, the e-mail team brings this political case to a conclusion two days before Christmas,” said Gov. Blunt’s spokeswoman Jessica Robinson.  “After falsely accusing many the only real outcome is that the governor’s office was telling the truth.  This agreement comes just as the office was seeking to question an official in the Attorney General’s office over his destruction of e-mails.  One can see why they would be embarrassed by the result of their 13 month long legal fiasco and would seek to bury the story during the week of Christmas.”…

…In an agreement between the governor’s chief of staff and the e-mail team, the governor’s office agreed to provide the e-mail team with the same information they have already provided to the media.  The agreement also included a brief tour of the governor’s staff offices, an inventory of furniture in two offices, photographs of the governor and the First Lady and press releases, all of which were produced with ease and which further demonstrate that the governor’s office was following the law.  This political case ends with five dismissals, no findings of any wrong doing and no charges of any kind.

         “Through no fault of the governor’s office, Missourians have been charged more than $600,000 for tens of thousands of e-mail documents that prove the governor’s office was telling the truth, office furniture lists, and requests for photographs and press releases that are already available on our Internet site,” said Robinson.  “We would expect that taxpayers will ask themselves and Jay Nixon if this kind of politics was worth $600,000.”

         Governor Blunt and Blunt officials Rich Aubuchon, Ed Martin, Dan Ross and Larry Schepker were all falsely accused.  All have been vindicated.

         “These public servants are still owed an apology, but the real victims of this unnecessary, political case are Missouri taxpayers who were charged more than $600,000 over e-mail,” said Robinson.  “If you are a Missouri taxpayer next time you hit the delete button on an e-mail that you do not need and is not required by law to be retained think about how absurd this whole thing has been.”

         Gov. Blunt’s office has provided more information and records than any other elected official in the history of Missouri.  He has made state government more open and transparent with initiatives like the Missouri Accountability Portal which has placed Missouri’s checkbook online at (http:/mapyourtaxes.mo.gov).  Gov. Blunt also created a permanent e-mail retention and retrieval system to make it easier and more affordable to respond to open records requests for state government e-mails, especially requests for massive amounts of information.

         The Associated Press has reported that Attorney General Jay Nixon has refused to participate in the permanent e-mail retention system in both the Attorney General’s office and his transition office.  The Attorney General’s office also went to court to prevent Jay Nixon official Scott Holste from answering the same questions the governor’s office has answered.  Mr. Holste told The Associated Press on September 24, 2007, that he destroys many of his e-mails and asserted that “a lot” of what the Attorney General’s office does would not have to be retained.

There’s so much spin in there that if you hooked it up to a generator it’d solve the energy crisis.

It just goes to show you, some people never get out of junior high school.