JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri. (Modified press release) –Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sued the Missouri School Boards Association for alleged Sunshine Law violations.
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office previously requested documents from the Missouri School Boards Association (MSBA) regarding its role in the October 4, 2021 memo from the Biden administration and the National School Boards Association that named the affected parents. who present themselves at school board meetings as “domestic terrorists” and called on the FBI to monitor these parents. The Bureau also requested documents related to MSBA guidelines on critical race theory, mask mandates and IEP meeting policies The MSBA did not respond to Sunshine Law inquiries from the Missouri Attorney General’s office.
“Today I filed a lawsuit against the Missouri School Boards Association for withholding public records – records that the public and especially parents of children in Missouri schools have a right to see. months, my office has been fighting to shed light on the MSBA’s role in the letter to the Biden administration that led the federal government to investigate the parents involved,” Attorney General Schmitt said. , we searched for documents related to IEP registration policies, critical race theory, and MSBA guidance to school districts on mask mandates.At every turn, we were blocked. parents across the state, I am filing this lawsuit to obtain public records of important issues affecting their children and children in Missouri schools across the state.
The Attorney General’s Office argues that the MSBA is subject to the Sunshine Law because the MSBA is a quasi-public government agency under the Sunshine Law, the corporate structure of the MSBA meets the definition of a quasi-government agency. public, the primary purpose of the MSBA meets the definition of a quasi-public government agency, the MSBA performs a public function and therefore meets the definition of a quasi-public government agency, the funding for the MSBA comes almost entirely of public funds, the MSBA provides the education required by Missouri law, and Missouri law grants the MSBA important public functions.
The MSBA released a statement to KY3 News regarding the lawsuit:
“The MSBA was disappointed to learn via social media that another frivolous lawsuit has been filed by candidate Eric Schmitt, this one targeting our organization. MSBA is a not-for-profit organization that supports school boards in their efforts to ensure student success and, in doing so, comply with the law. This lawsuit is a political stunt by candidate Schmitt, and as citizens of Missouri it is disheartening to see his state office turn into an extension of his campaign. – Melissa Randol, Executive Director, Missouri School Boards’ Association
“In the history of the Attorney General’s Office, no Attorney General has ever prosecuted a nonprofit entity for violating the Sun Law. And an examination of the lawsuit shows that it was not the result of a complaint or a major government policy, but rather to advance a particular political agenda. All over the world, nonprofits should be terrified. This lawsuit is simply inappropriate. – Chuck Hatfield, an attorney representing MSBA.
The full petition is available here: https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/2022-03-15-msba-petition-(00000002).pdf?sfvrsn=382eb871_2
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