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Missouri AG candidates respond to former UM System President’s claims

In a released letter by former UM System President Tim Wolfe Wednesday, Wolfe claimed one state senator pressured him to make it impossible for one Missouri Attorney General candidate to run for office.

According to Wolfe, Sen. Kurt Schaefer, (R)-Columbia, pressured him to take away an employee’s right to ask for unpaid leave when running for public office.

That would prevent Joshua Hawley from running against Schaefer in the Attorney General Republican Primary.

“To have the president or former president of a major university say that he was pressured, bullied by a state senator about a potential opponent is shocking,” Hawley said to ABC 17 News. “And again we elect public officials to go and to confront the huge challenges that we’re facing as a state.”

Sen. Schaefer told ABC 17 News he just spoke to Wolfe about accountability.

“The only thing that I ever told him was, they should follow their own rules,” Schaefer said. “They give him leave in May of 2015 to stay on at the university but do nothing but run for office, you know that’s an issue.”

Wolfe also said Schaefer asked him to, “get in the middle of the tenure decision of Mr. Hawley.”

“I think that President Wolfe has laid out a scenario where you have allegations that look like abuse of office,” Hawley said.

But Schaefer said he thought Wolfe’s comments were inappropriate.

“I think what he says about me is not true and wrong and I don’t see anything truthful in that letter,” Schaefer said.

Reacting to Wolfe’s letter was not the first time Hawley and Schaefer butted heads. Earlier this month, Hawley criticized Schaefer and his committee about not hold Planned Parenthood accountable in a timely manner.

The primary election for Missouri Attorney General will be August 2, 2016.

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