The president pro tem of the Missouri Senate on Monday called for an independent audit of the state auditor's office after alleged "improprieties and irregularities" in the office's work, according to a news release Monday from Senate Republicans.
President Pro Tem Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, gave a letter to Gov. Mike Parson "which raises concerns about alleged impropriety and irregularities in audits conducted by State Auditor Nicole Galloway," according to the news release from the Senate Majority Caucus.
"The submission of the letter coincides with legislation (SB 927), filed today by Senator Schatz, authorizing an independent audit of the State Auditor's office. The Missouri General Assembly is statutorily required to periodically authorize such an audit in order to maintain the integrity of that office and its work.
"U.S. Senator Josh Hawley recently accused Auditor Galloway of using blatantly biased staff, including those who came from his political opponent's campaign, to lead the closeout audit of his tenure as State Attorney General. Hawley also revealed communications written by the Auditor's staff in which they discussed altering audit conclusions after the fact in order to make the findings appear more critical of Hawley," the news release added.
Hawley on Jan. 14 tweeted he was pleased with the State Auditor's conclusion in a review related to his run for U.S. Senate in 2018, during which he had been accused of using state resources for his own campaign. However, Hawley added the accusation that "the lead auditor on Galloway's review openly discussed changing audit's conclusion in order to make it more critical of me after she found no evidence of misconduct."
Hawley added a link to a document, a letter from a Washington, D.C., lawyer writing on his behalf to the state auditor's office, which outlined that accusation against the lead auditor on the review.
On Jan. 15, Hawley tweeted an email that purportedly showed communication from the state auditor's office to the state's attorney general's office in which "Galloway lead auditor discusses CHANGING & manipulating the audit to make it more critical of my office or me. This violates basic auditing standards, ethics rules, and possibly state law. Calls for independent investigation #moleg."
The letter from the attorney writing on Hawley's behalf claimed the lead auditor's allegedly revealing email had been sent to the attorney general's office by mistake.
The letter also makes other accusations about conflicts of interest involving Galloway's campaign for governor and interactions and relationships with the campaign of Hawley's then-incumbent Democratic rival for the U.S. Senate, Claire McCaskill.
"The Auditor's findings and recommendations only carry weight when people believe in the impartiality and professionalism of their work," Schatz said.
"These serious allegations cast doubt on whether Auditor Galloway's audits of other statewide office-holders were in keeping with the fair and impartial work of past auditors — both Democrats and Republicans," he added.