Mo. AG opens investigation over Greitens use of social media - KMOV.com

Mo. AG opens investigation over Greitens use of social media

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Mo. Gov. Eric Greitens announces he won't step down ahead of a report released by a legislative committee investigating him. Credit: KMOV Mo. Gov. Eric Greitens announces he won't step down ahead of a report released by a legislative committee investigating him. Credit: KMOV
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is opening a new investigation into Governor Eric Greitens' use of social media. 

The investigation involves accusations that a member of the governor's staff helped post on the governor's Facebook page that he now considers private. The announcement of the new investigation comes as News 4 Investigates reports on months of investigation into the Governor's use of social media.

A St. Louis City woman says she has been banned from Missouri Governor Eric Greitens' Facebook page for expressing her displeasure with his policies with a "vomit" emoji.

"I didn't even get a warning, I was just cut off one day," says Patsy Roach, a lifelong Democrat.   

Her experience points to questions about the Missouri governor's preferred forms of communication.

Since taking office in 2017, Governor Greitens has often preferred social media as a means of communicating with constituents. That includes Facebook and Twitter.

Other forms of communication have raised some eyebrows and even drawn the attention of Hawley, the use of the message-deleting app called "Confide."  News 4 spoke with an attorney who is suing over the use of "Confide" who says, "If government officials are allowed to use phone applications that shred their communications, it's a direct threat to public records laws around the country."

News 4 wanted to know about other forms of communication for the governor, for example, email? News 4 made a request for the Governor's emails under public records laws and were told he doesn't have any.  In a letter from an attorney in the Governor's office, News 4 was told the Governor does not have a state email address and does not use a private email account to conduct official business.

Political science professor Dr. Laurie Rice of SIU-Edwardsville tells News 4 it is unusual for governors not to use email, and says, it can cause problems for their legacy and public records, saying, "It can also be a disadvantage for a politician's legacy. If there's not that communication, we miss out on a lot of insights on that person's accomplishments."

News 4 checked and found that the governors of Arkansas and Oklahoma do use email, but the governors of Iowa and Illinois do not.

News 4 has made a public records request for the emails of 11 members of Governor Greitens' staff who use email, and for those of First Lady, Sheena Greitens.  The state said it would cost $21,000 to fulfill that request.

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