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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Politicians: Don't Let This Happen To You

If you are an elected official, like Missouri Governor Matt Blunt (R), who thought that destroying emails was no big deal because no one cares about open government, think again. The Missouri Attorney General is investigating the Governor over this. It looks like open government and the scandal surrounding the destruction of agency emails might be one of the big issues in the Governor's 2008 election (or un-election).

Here's a web site on the email destruction issue put up by Gov. Blunt's opponents. Ouch.

The Missouri AG is running against the Governor in 2008 so the email issue is a convenient political hammer. But that's the point: open government can be a political hammer.

Washington politicians at all levels: Don't let this happen to you. Follow the law and retain emails and then provide them promptly and completely under the Public Records Act. Your staff tells you what a hassle the Public Records Act is and you want to make them happy, but voters--and the newspapers they read--actually care about open government.

Tip of the hat to the State Sunshine and Open Records blog for this story.