The law was violated when the office refused to turn over documents requested by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee under the open records law in 2017 and 2018 as Hawley was looking to challenge then-Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), according to Cole County Presiding Judge Jon Beetem.
Beetem said in the ruling that the violations by the Missouri attorney general’s office were “knowing and purposeful.”
“The decision to withhold documents responsive to the DSCC’s Sunshine requests was made by public officials who had personal and professional stakes in the documents not being released and in the success of then-candidate Hawley’s campaign,” Beetem said.
The state Sunshine Law allows citizens in the Show Me State to get access to public meetings and records from state government officials, with some exceptions, including emails and other communications. The DSCC filed suit in 2019.
The judge ordered the office to pay a $12,000 fine for violating the law and pay for the DSCC’s attorneys’ fees and costs.
Hawley went on to defeat McCaskill in the Senate race in 2018. He is expected to run for reelection to his seat in 2024.