CfA Again Asks Court to Unseal Divorce Records of Andrew Puzder, Former Labor Secretary Nominee
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 19, 2018
Contact: Daniel Stevens, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.780.5750
ST. LOUIS, MO – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA) filed a new petition in the 21st Circuit Court in St. Louis County, Missouri asking the court to unseal the divorce records of Andrew Puzder, President Trump’s unsuccessful first nominee for Secretary of Labor. Press reports indicate the White House is again considering Puzder, who denied allegations that he abused his ex-wife, for a role in the Trump administration after he withdrew his name from consideration for Labor Secretary last year.
CfA Executive Director Daniel E. Stevens said, “In light of the #MeToo movement, it is incredible that President Trump would again consider Mr. Puzder – whose ex-wife once appeared on Oprah alleging he had physically abused her – for a high level government position. These divorce records should be released so Americans can evaluate Mr. Puzder’s conduct for themselves.”
Last February, CfA asked a judge to unseal Puzder’s divorce records ahead of the Senate vote on his nomination to be Labor Secretary. After CfA filed the motion, the court clerk released some previously unreleased documents, but the divorce file remained sealed.
On February 15, 2017, Puzder withdrew his nomination, prompting the judge overseeing the matter to dismiss CfA’s request as moot, but allowing the group to refile if the situation changed.
On January 8, 2018, Politico reported the White House is evaluating Puzder for another, unspecified position in the Trump administration, prompting CfA to again seek the court records.
CfA’s petition argues that the Missouri statute requiring divorce records from before 2009 to be sealed violates the First Amendment and the Missouri Constitution and should be struck down.
Even if the court upholds the validity of the statute, records may be opened for “good cause.” CfA alleges that the public interest in evaluating a potential high-level government appointee represents constitutes good cause.
Stevens continued, “Mr. Puzder withdrew from consideration before because of the allegations of domestic abuse. Despite what the president and Mr. Puzder may believe, in the intervening year, it hasn’t become more acceptable to beat your wife. This time, whether or not Mr. Puzder again pulls his name, the records should be opened up to put this issue to rest once and for all.”
Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.