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Hawley alleges Sunshine Law violations in suits

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Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley’s office filed lawsuits alleging violations of the state’s Sunshine Law that guarantees public access to government records.

Hawley claims St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger’s staff routinely shirks the Sunshine Law. The attorney general’s office is seeking an injunction to force Stenger’s office to cooperate, as well as civil penalties of up to $1,000 for each knowing violation and $5,000 for each purposeful violation.

“We receive hundreds of Sunshine requests every week and respond to them in a lawful and timely manner,” Stenger said, noting the lawsuit is “a transparent attempt by the Republican attorney general to score political points in his campaign to unseat” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

However, according to Hawley’s office, Stenger and staff typically receive fewer than one Sunshine request per week.

In the second suit, Hawley alleges former Jefferson County council Chairwoman Renee Reuter last year ordered an assistant to destroy public records rather than grant access after a request was made.

Reuter and the council are named as defendants in the suit.

Read more from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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