Parson told not to use First Amendment to redact information

Parson told not to use First Amendment to redact information
The Missouri attorney general's office says Gov. Mike Parson should stop using the First Amendment to justify withholding some public information (Source: Long, James)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri attorney general's office says Gov. Mike Parson should stop using the First Amendment to justify withholding some public information.

Parson's office has cited the First Amendment when refusing to release information such as phone numbers, addresses and emails of private citizens who contacted the governor's office.

The Kansas City Star reports Deputy Attorney General Justin Smith wrote in a letter to Parson Thursday that courts have allowed redactions in specific cases but "not as a blanket approach."

State Auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democratic candidate for governor, asked Attorney General Eric Schmitt in May for an opinion on whether Parson's approach violated the open records law.

Parson's spokeswoman, Kelli Jones, said in a statement Friday the governor's actions were intended to protect people from possible harassment. She said previous administrations had redacted the same information.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com