Pattern of Withholding Public Records

UPDATED: Link to filed petition

Jefferson City, MO – United for Missouri (UFM) and its Chief Executive Officer Carl Bearden, filed suit in Cole County alleging the Missouri Office of Administration (OA), the OA Commissioner, Sarah Steelman, and the OA Custodian of records, Brandi Caruthers violated the state’s sunshine law by denying access to requested records made available to other private parties. The suit is the second one brought against OA recently for sunshine law violations.

“The state has an obligation and statutory duty to be transparent with citizens.,” said Carl Bearden. “Citizens have the right to request and access information outlined in statute. The state must deliver the requested information. They have failed to do so on several accounts.”

The Office of Administration has provided information to certain unions. The suit alleges the list provided to the unions is now “public record” in keeping with Revised Statutes of Missouri, specifically 610.023 and must be released to anyone requesting it.

“OA does not dispute releasing employee information to the unions. They do ignore the plain meaning and intent of the sunshine law that the data released to one private party must be made available to all parties.”, Bearden said.

The lawsuit seeks the information released to the unions be provided to the plaintiffs, civil damages, and attorneys fees.