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Hawley releases first Legal Expense Fund report

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced on Wednesday that he released the first Annual Report for the state’s Legal Expense Fund to the General Assembly.

Hawley said the report analyzes LEF expenditures and liabilities over the 2017 calendar year.

Throughout 2017, Hawley released monthly reports to the general public detailing payments made from the LEF. Hawley’s office also began releasing estimates of potential liability against the LEF.

The estimates give the public and General Assembly notice of the scope of the liability the state faces.

The report shows the need to address deeper issues driving the state’s litigation exposure. Hawley said there are significant problems of discrimination and retaliation that have existed in some parts of the state government.

Hawley said going forward state employees need an independent and anonymous channel for reporting discrimination and harassment.

The Attorney General’s Office will also conduct a comprehensive review of existing discrimination and harassment policies across state government.

Hawley said individuals who engage in misconduct should face concrete and swift employment consequences for doing so.

“Strategic decisions must always be made in litigation, and my office strives to protect the interests of the Missouri taxpayer,” Hawley said. “But we also need to initiate a deeper conversation about the culture of state government in Missouri. We must eradicate behavior that creates a negative work environment and prompts costly litigation. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to address these issues in the coming year.”

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