Ben Hurst specializes in speech, election and privacy litigation. He has both prosecuted civil claims challenging government action and defended his clients when they find themselves under investigation or prosecution. Ben relies on his experience as a former Army judge advocate and federal prosecutor to vindicate his clients’ rights.
“The practices of government information, speech and privacy work together to support democracy: citizens must know what the government is doing and should feel free to criticize it without fear of official reprisal.”
Ben has litigated speech and privacy issues across the United States. In federal court, Ben has challenged prosecutors’ seizure of millions of politically and personally sensitive emails. In state court, he dug into debates on a state constitution to successfully contest an official’s removal from office. He served on the Graves Garrett team that obtained a historic class action settlement from the IRS based on its targeting of Tea Party organizations.
As a corollary to his defense of clients’ privacy, Ben maintains an active government information practice, enforcing public records laws through litigation. He has successfully obtained hundreds of thousands of records from reluctant government agencies.
Ben has been retained by municipal governments to assist in internal investigations of alleged wrongdoing: he has investigated an alleged sexual assault at Missouri’s largest county jail, as well as alleged campaign finance violations in another first-class county.
Ben was also recently appointed to Missouri’s Clean Water Commission, where he serves as vice-chair. The Clean Water Commission issues rules and permits to enforce the federal Clean Water Act and Missouri’s Clean Water Law.
Prior to joining the Graves Garrett team, Ben served as a U.S. Army judge advocate, where he specialized in the areas of labor and employment law in addition to administrative law. He represented the United States in internal investigations and advised on statutory and regulatory compliance. He also represented the United States as a prosecutor in courts-martial and as a special assistant U.S. attorney in the Western District of Kentucky.
He began his legal career as a law clerk for the Honorable William Duane Benton in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in Kansas City, Missouri.
Ben earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he served as executive editor of the Virginia Law Review. Before law school, he received an A.B. in economics while minoring in Russian and humanities at Washington University in St. Louis.
Ben grew up on a farm in northwest Missouri. He now lives in Kansas City with his family.