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With subpoena power, Hawley would reopen Confide investigation

   

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Attorney General’s Office may have completed their investigation into the usage of the text-deleting Confide app by Governor Eric Greitens and his staff but the files have been made available to an investigation that has subpoena power in the matter.

On Friday, Josh Hawley said that all the case files in his office’s investigation have been made available to the Missouri House committee investigating Greitens.

“The House committee enjoys subpoena power in the Confide subject, which unfortunately this office currently does not,” Hawley said.

He urged the General Assembly to pass legislation filed by Reps. David Gregory and Jean Evans that would strengthen Missouri’s Sunshine Law and give the AGO subpoena power in open records cases.

“If the legislature is willing to give us that authority, we will reopen the Confide investigation,” Hawley said.

The AGO launched an inquiry into Greitens’ office in 2017 after a Kansas City Star report broke the news that the Governor and some staff members had Confide accounts.

The investigation was conducted with eight “high-level members” of the Governor’s Office, though the Governor was not one of those interviewed, as the Governor’s Office had “asserted a blanket objection to all questions regarding communications between interviewees and the Governor based on the doctrine of executive privilege.”

The AGO lacks subpoena power in Sunshine Law investigations, thus relied on the interviews with those eight individuals, seven said they had not downloaded the app on their state-issued phones.

The report concluded that “Based on the records and materials available, the AGO has not identified any basis for concluding that the GO has violated Missouri law through the use of Confide by GO personnel.”

Without the ability to issue subpoenas on the matter, Hawley said that their ability to collect information is limited, particularly from those who do not wish to cooperate.

“There is no doubt that subpoena authority would significantly help our ability to gather information, to comply non-cooperating witnesses or those who do not wish to cooperate with us,” he said.