Governor Blunt's office responds to editorial
Mike Jensen's editorial about e-mail and the governor's office contained
numerous factual errors that must be corrected. Since much of what he
has learned about this is probably from the Saint Louis Post Dispatch
and other biased sources we can understand how he made these mistakes.
First, in his editorial, Mr. Jensen asserts that there is a "refusal by
the Blunt administration to release e-mails from his office." Nothing
could be further from the truth. Here is the truth:
1.) The governor's office has said it would never deny access to any
e-mail unless it was closed by law.
2.) The governor's office retains and releases more e-mails than any
other elected official. This includes Jay Nixon, whose office admitted
it routinely destroys e-mail records in response to an analysis of
e-mail policies conducted last September by The Associated Press.
3.) Gov. Blunt directed the Office of Administration to create an e-mail
retention and retrieval system to ensure e-mails in the governor's
office are saved and retained forever. This permanent e-mail retention
system has been implemented and Jay Nixon is refusing to participate in
it as his office continues to destroy e-mail records.
Second, Mr. Jensen claimed that "Blunt says his e-mail correspondence is
not subject to the state law and would jeopardize the ability of future
top state executives from conducting business."
This is false. The governor's office has never claimed executive
privilege in response to a request for e-mails.
Third, Mr. Jensen asserted we are arguing a "constitutional" question
about e-mail. This is wrong. The governor's office has said that as
long as the person asking for information pays any costs associated with
producing e-mails we will provide them. If the office receives tailored
and reasonable requests for information we respond quickly and often at
When the governor's office is asked for massive amounts of information
such as hundreds of thousands of e-mails it cannot respond quickly and
affordably, and the person requesting this information should pay the
For example, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan is charging $91,000 for
one e-mail account in her office. The governor's office has not charged
that much for one e-mail account, but we have been asked for hundreds of
thousands of e-mails from 43 e-mail accounts in our office. Missouri
taxpayers have to pay for the time and personnel it takes to retrieve
and review hundreds of thousands of e-mails in response to requests for
massive amounts of information, they should be reimbursed for this
Fourth, the governor's office is not concerned about anything
"embarrassing or questionable" on our e-mails. As I have stated, we are
constantly providing e-mails in response to open records request.
It is the law and we follow it.
Mike Jensen is a highly respected and thoughtful newspaper publisher.
He is a person of integrity who we believe does his best to get the
story right. Unfortunately, even the best slip up every once in a
Chief of Staff
Office of Missouri Governor Matt Blunt