Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today said her effort to examine the state's spending of federal funding provided through the CARES Act is ongoing, even as the Governor's office refuses to provide details on plans for state departments.
Auditor Galloway recently requested basic information of state departments related to their plans and actions for spending COVID-19 relief funds. Instead of a response from the departments, the Auditor's Office received a letter from the Governor's Office. The letter failed to provide clear answers about the administration's plans for distributing federal funds.
"These questions are the same as the ones taxpayers, small businesses and local governments are grappling with during this unprecedented time. As the state's independent watchdog, I will continue to pursue answers on their behalf," Auditor Galloway said. "Our state is set to receive the largest amount of federal relief funds ever. Transparency and oversight are necessary to maintain the public's trust."
The information requested will help determine whether the state's accounting systems are functioning properly and whether any mismanagement or misappropriation has occurred. Auditor Galloway said cooperation from state departments in providing this basic information is the most efficient way to ensure transparency.
Under Article IV, Section 13 of the Missouri Constitution, the State Auditor has a duty to ensure the accuracy of the state's accounting of its spending. Per Section 29.130, RSMo, the office "shall have free access to all offices of this state for the inspection of such books, accounts and papers."
Two weeks ago, Auditor Galloway announced her oversight initiative to ensure federal funds are being spent effectively and to identify any potential vulnerabilities for waste, fraud or abuse. Additionally, an online resource for Missourians to understand how state government is spending the federal funding is in development.
The full response to the Governor can be found here.