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Hawley Lawsuit: County Executive Stenger's Office Routinely Violates Open Records Laws

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley claims in a lawsuit that St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger's staff routinely violates a state law aimed at guaranteeing public access to government records. The lawsuit filed Wednesday seeks an injunction forcing Stenger's office to follow Missouri's Sunshine Law, and seeks civil penalties for violations. (Photo: St. Louis County)

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley claims in a lawsuit that St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger's staff routinely violates a state law aimed at guaranteeing public access to government records.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday seeks an injunction forcing Stenger's office to follow Missouri's Sunshine Law, and seeks civil penalties for violations.

Many instances cited in the lawsuit accuse Stenger's aides of inadequate response to requests from St. Louis Post-Dispatch journalists. Post-Dispatch Editor Gilbert Bailon says the suit is warranted.

Stenger, a Democrat, says he is confident his office will prevail in the lawsuit. He told the Post-Dispatch in a text that the suit is a "transparent attempt by the Republican attorney general to score political points" as he runs for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill.

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