Audit Blasts Nixon’s Use of State Planes
April 22, 2015

AP) – A state audit released Wednesday shows that Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has continued to use money meant for other agencies to pay for expensive in-state flights and staffing, despite lawmakers’ efforts to stop the practice.
If Nixon had not pulled money from other departments and delayed payments to a later fiscal year, the Democrat’s office would have exceeded its roughly $6.6 million budget by $1.9 million over the past three years, the audit found.
“If the rest of state government ran that way, we would be in deep trouble,” Deputy Auditor Harry Otto said.
Nixon said he hadn’t seen the audit’s findings but added that he doesn’t plan to change the way his office operates.
“The bottom line is we’re going to continue to make sure that we call on the resources of other departments when we need them, and we share the talents and skills of those other departments,” Nixon said.
The report comes amid budget negotiations for next fiscal year by frustrated lawmakers, who have questioned Nixon’s use of a state plane to fly across Missouri and have attempted to rein in the budget for his office.
Since 2012, the budgets passed by legislators have included wording restricting most state agencies from paying for travel and personnel expenses for the governor’s office and other statewide elected officials.
But the audit shows that Nixon’s administration has continued to do so.
The audit notes that the Revenue, Elementary and Secondary Education, and Health and Senior Services departments were among 14 agencies that paid the salaries of six members of governor’s staff.
In a written response included in the audit, Nixon’s office said it accounts for the costs in a way that properly reflects the work that is performed. Still, those employees work out of the governor’s office and are supervised by Nixon’s personnel.

Audit Questions Controls in Koster’s AG Office
March 24, 2015

AP) – Although Attorney General Chris Koster’s gubernatorial campaign has had a policy in place for months to address concerns that he was influenced by lobbyist perks and political donations, an audit released Tuesday faulted his state office for not implementing a similar system.
At issue is a New York Times article in October asserting Koster was among many attorneys general who were soft on companies facing litigation from their offices after receiving gifts and donations.
Koster’s campaign spokesman Andrew Whalen on Tuesday confirmed that he adopted a policy the next month to stop accepting gifts from lobbyists or contributions from anyone involved in litigation with his office within the last 90 days.
Koster, the only Democrat running for governor in 2016, called it one of the strictest ethics policies of any elected attorney general in the U.S. But the state audit criticized the attorney general’s office for not implementing similar protocols to prevent conflicts of interest.
In a written response included in the audit report, the attorney general’s office said its lawyers had no contact with Koster’s campaign.
“Whether or not a particular entity, lobbyist, or attorney may be a political contributor is of no relevance, and AGO attorneys spend no time concerning themselves with that issue,” the office said in its written response. “The far better solution is to keep campaign business out of the office.”
Spokespeople for the attorney general’s office declined further comment Tuesday

Schweich Praises New Law for Auditors Office
July 15, 2013

AP) – A newly enacted state law will give the Missouri auditor’s office greater flexibility in determining when and how to audit government agencies, Auditor Tom Schweich said Monday.

The measure puts into state statute some responsibilities that auditors already have undertaken but have at times been challenged in court, such as the ability to audit an agency’s performance in addition to its finances. It also repeals some mandatory time frames for audits to be conducted and requires more facts and figures about the finances of state and local government to be posted on an online state database.

Nixon signed the legislation Friday without much comment. It takes effect Aug. 28.

Schweich said the measure updates World War II-era laws governing the auditor’s office to better reflect how government and auditors currently operate.

“It gives us tremendous flexibility on when to audit, who to audit and how to audit, and it makes Missouri the most accountable state in the union,” Schweich said.