"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Ozarks Opinions: “Blunt’s Chief of Staff Won’t Keep His Job”

November 13th, 2007 by mopns · No Comments

There is one thing that is still perplexing us about this story. While still employed by the administration, Scott Eckersley claims to have written an email to the Governor’s staff warning them about deleting emails. Tony Messenger, Jo Mannies, and the AP claim to have copies of this email, but for reasons they all claim of attorney client privilege, we have yet to see a copy of this email.

Now this sounds pretty reasonable until you take into account the fact that Mr. Eckersley seems to have waived that privilege once he started sending copies of his emails to the press. It also seems to us that the Administration also waived the attorney client privilege once they sent materials – including Eckersley’s sexually explicit emails – to the press. The cynic in us says that the press is orchestrating a “slow bleed” policy (by not releasing the email) to keep this story alive to embarrass the governor. Or, the email that they have in their possession (that they selectively quote from) once read in its entirety, does not necessarily substantiate Mr. Eckersley’s claims.

By Ryan Cooper

Gov. Matt Blunt’s chief of staff, Ed Martin, will be sacked by year’s end.

Why? Because that’s what Morton Blackwell would do in this situation.

Blackwell, a conservative political guru, trains Republicans young and old at his Leadership Institute, based in Arlington, Va. Former LI graduates include Missouri House Speaker Rod Jetton and many Missouri GOP elected officials.

In a lecture entitled “Handling Negative Information,” Blackwell outlines how to handle controversy. The Blunt administration has already used the first two examples.

‘Ignore the attack’

The controversy started when Martin used his state e-mail account to send information to anti-abortion activists, requesting their help in removing Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon from a pending lawsuit seeking to restrict enforcement of a new anti-abortion law. Nixon had received contributions from the plaintiff, Planned Parenthood.

One of these e-mails landed in the hands of News-Leader editorial page editor Tony Messenger.

The motive: payback for Blunt’s support of embryonic stem cell research.

To verify the information and receive additional e-mails from Martin, Messenger filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Martin’s e-mails.

Rather than admit guilt, Martin tried to save his job and Blunt’s image by ignoring the request.

He claimed that he never sent the e-mail in question and that he doesn’t save his e-mails. E-mails aren’t public information, Martin claimed.

‘Deny the charge, prove the contrary and show moral indignation’

Blunt Deputy Counsel Scott Eckersley told Martin and others that e-mails sent on government accounts are public documents and that the state did have an e-mail retention policy, signed by Blunt.

Fearing a leak within the administration, Martin felt compelled to action. He orchestrated the firing and personal destruction of Eckersley. Read more…

Related:

Post Dispatch: Politicians increase conduct state business on private e-mail accounts

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Tags: Matt Blunt · Scott Eckersley

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