Silly Hillary Clinton. If only you’d used the modern equivalent of disappearing ink to send messages that wouldn’t be subject to public scrutiny under open records laws, well, then maybe you’d be president today.
That’s what Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is doing now.
And Madam Secretary, he and his senior staff are making you look like an amateur in the old secrecy game. Which, given the decades of practice that you have on him, is more than a little embarrassing.
Greitens and his senior staff, as The Star has reported, use an app called Confide that deletes text messages after they’ve been read.
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That’s right: No saving, forwarding, printing or screenshots to worry about.
There’s no paper trail at all, so no telling what they’re using it for.
If it’s any consolation, though, Mrs. Clinton, what this parvenu Greitens lacks in experience, he’s more than made up for with dedication.
And with the impressive consistency in cloaking maneuvers we saw even before he took office.
From the Missouri-funded transition team that had to sign gag orders to the withheld transition emails to his bold refusal to disclose how much lobbyists and corporations donated to fund his inaugural festivities, Greitens never once wavered from that one overgrown, hard-to-make-out path. That was just the warm-up.
Since then, he’s raised money with a nonprofit that isn’t required to disclose donors, either.
Then there’s his use of private planes for official travel at the invitation of who knows what patron.
True, some of his moves are rather unoriginal ways to get around public oversight.
Fees for public documents that are so high that no one can afford them, for example. A classic of the genre.
Even this use of Confide isn’t exactly pioneering.
White House aides were doing it, too, after all, until then-press secretary Sean Spicer put the kibosh on that, citing the Presidential Records Act.
But when the former Easter Bunny is ahead of our governor in transparency, well, you have to admit that the kid shows promise.
Until the Show-Me State’s sunshine laws catch up to modern technology, we have every expectation that the Greitens administration will continue to behave as though public business is none of the public’s darn business.
Until then, if that business is being done on Confide, says Alex Howard, deputy director of the open-government advocating Sunlight Foundation, then “they are intentionally removing that business from public scrutiny” and making it far harder to “hold our officials accountable for their work on our behalf, should waste, fraud, abuse or outright criminality occur.’’
Eat your heart out, Hillary Clinton.