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Luetkemeyer seeks federal answers on Revenue issue

Luetkemeyer seeks federal answers on Revenue issue

April 13th, 2013 in News

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer expects to tell reporters Monday morning that he's learned new information from two federal agencies about the Missouri Revenue department's collection, and use, of personal information.

Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, asked the federal agencies on Thursday to explain why they wanted driver's license and concealed weapons permit information from Missouri.

Luetkemeyer sent the letters to Carolyn Colvin, the Social Security Administration's acting commissioner, and to Patrick O'Carroll Jr., the agency's inspector general.

The third letter went to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who was Arizona's governor before she joined President Barack Obama's Cabinet in 2009.

Luetkemeyer began all three letters with the explanation that he was writing "to express my serious concern over numerous reports" the agency "recently requested and received detailed, personal information from the Missouri Highway Patrol and/or other government agencies and offices" in Missouri.

In all three letters, he also wrote: "This is very clearly a violation of one's personal privacy, not to mention Missouri law, and I cannot adequately express to you my incredible concern over this request."

Luetkemeyer didn't cite the specific Missouri law that was violated.

State law requires Missourians seeking a concealed carry permit to apply with the local sheriff, who must "keep a record of all applications ... and his or her action thereon (and) report the issuance of a certificate of qualification to the Missouri uniform law enforcement system," or MULES, which the Highway Patrol maintains.

However, the same law - 571.101, section 8 - makes all the applicants' information "protected information on any driver's or nondriver's license;" says that information about who has a concealed weapons permit "shall not be public information;" and that "any person who violates the provisions of this subsection by disclosing protected information shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor."

Conviction of that crime could result in a sentence of up to one year in a county jail.

A separate state law makes the Highway Patrol superintendent "responsible for establishing policy, procedures, and regulations in cooperation with the law enforcement and criminal justice community in protecting the integrity of the MULES system," and in how that information can be shared with other agencies.

In all three letters, Luetkemeyer said Thursday: "What is more concerning is that, according to reports, the Missouri Highway Patrol released a full list of Missourians holding concealed carry permits, numbering more than 185,000 individuals."

Each letter then posed a series of questions Luetkemeyer wanted answered, but which varied in each letter.

All three letters asked if the federal agency had requested:

• "From the Missouri Highway Patrol or any other state agency a complete list of individuals with concealed carry permits?"

• "Any other information, personal or otherwise, from any State of Missouri department or official? If so, what specific information was requested and from whom?"

• "On what legal grounds" was the information sought, and "for what explicit purpose" did the federal agency seek the information?

Luetkemeyer asked what information, if any, had been received from Missouri; what state departments or agencies provided it; how that information was used; whether any of the information had been shared with other federal agencies; and if the federal agency still has access to the Missouri information.

And Luetkemeyer asked if the federal government had made similar requests to other states.

An Associated Press story Friday evening reported that the Social Security Administration told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that one of its fraud investigators received a "readable" computer list from the Highway Patrol of Missourians who have concealed weapons permits - but the list was later destroyed.

Patrol officials told the Senate's Appropriations Committee this week that data provided to the federal agency never had been accessed at the federal level, because of a technical glitch.

The Social Security investigator was looking to see if anyone meeting Missouri's mental health qualifications for a weapons permit also had asked for federal mental disability benefits, but the project later was dropped.