AG finds no laws broken in Missouri gov’s use of disappearing messages app

AG finds no laws broken in Missouri gov’s use of disappearing messages app
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Missouri's attorney general said Thursday it didn't appear that fellow Republican Gov. Eric Greitens's staff violated records laws by using a messaging app that deletes messages after they are read.

According to a report released by Greitens's office, Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) “has not identified any basis” to believe Greitens or his staff broke state public records laws by sending or receiving texts on the Confide app, which has an auto-delete feature for messages, The Associated Press reported.

Five Greitens staffers told the attorney general's office that they used the app for "logistics and scheduling" purposes, messages which the attorney general's office considers "extremely non-substantive" and not protected by public records laws.

The report noted that no evidence to the contrary could be found, due to the nature of the app.

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“The nature of Confide necessarily means that no documentary evidence exists to corroborate (or contradict) this testimony," the report said.

“While the available evidence in this case indicates that messages transmitted over Confide constituted ‘transitory’ communications that need not be retained, it is conceivable that some text messages do fall within record series that require retention,” the report said.

“If a public employee were to receive such a communication via Confide, she would be unable to retain that communication as required by Missouri law.”

Greitens's office claimed in a statement reported by the AP that the report showed his administration went "above and beyond" to follow transparency laws.

“This thorough report recognizes that we have gone above and beyond what the law requires in the interest of transparency,” Greitens spokesman Parker Briden said.

Greitens, a first-term Republican governor, was indicted last week on a charge of felony invasion of privacy. State prosecutors have accused him of threatening to release a nude photo — allegedly taken without permission — of a woman he admits to having an affair with if the woman did not stay silent. The governor has denied the charges.

Hawley's office also announced Thursday that it has an open investigation surrounding a donor list that Democrats say Greitens's campaign received illegally from a charity he founded in 2007.