The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a story today which seems to shed some light on why Gov. Matt Blunt decided not to seek a second term.
Whatever was in those e-mails that the governor and his top aides have been so secretive about is worth so much that Matt Blunt is willing to spend more than a half a million to keep it from ever seeing the light of day. Unfortunately, that half million dollars is not coming from some Blunt bank account from the pockets of the taxpayers:
This week, the governor hired three members of a St. Louis law firm — at $210 to $370 per hour — to defend him against a lawsuit filed by a fired state lawyer, Scott Eckersley.
Public money also is paying for private lawyers hired by four current or former aides to Blunt who are defendants in the lawsuit, state records show.
Eckersley contends in his lawsuit, filed in January, that he was fired as Blunt's deputy counsel after raising concerns that the governor's staff was intentionally destroying e-mails that should be preserved as public records. Blunt has maintained that Eckersley was fired for unrelated reasons.
Asked why Blunt needs to hire private lawyers, a spokeswoman for the governor said: "This office has said it's not going to provide daily running commentary on the events and strategies of this frivolous lawsuit."
To make matters worse, the investigative team that is looking into possible improprieties in the methods of dealing with these e-mails has been told it will cost more than $500,000 to do so, according to the article.
It looks as if the last year of Matt Blunt at the helm of Missouri government is going to be just like the first three with the governor and his aides arrogantly assuming that they do not have to answer to anyone but themselves.