State Auditor Nicole Galloway is again urging Gov. Mike Parson to take action to curb the influence of dark money in Jefferson City, following his recent comments on the subject.
On January 30, while hosting the Missouri Press Association at the Governor's Mansion, Gov. Parson conveyed he has long been opposed to dark money and that Missourians should know who is contributing to such organizations.
In a letter delivered today, Auditor Galloway asked the Governor to make Senate Bill 735 a legislative priority. The bill would increase transparency on state contracts awarded to financial supporters of dark money groups, which are not required to report the source of donations they receive.
"We can both agree that Missourians want and deserve a transparent, honest and efficient government," Auditor Galloway wrote in the letter. "But, they need leadership on these issues in order to make such expectations a reality."
The letter asks the Governor to support the legislation promoting transparency in state contracts and to issue an executive order consistent with his recent comments clarifying his administration's stance on dark money.
This is not the first time Auditor Galloway has asked Gov. Parson to join her in efforts to combat dark money's influence in state government. In a meeting shortly after he ascended to the office and in previous letters, Auditor Galloway has both raised her concerns to the Governor about what she said was Jefferson City's "culture of corruption" and proposed ways — through legislation and executive order — to restore public trust. To date, those proposals have not been heeded.
"I'm urging Gov. Parson to make Senate Bill 735 a priority because he stated his opposition to dark money. Together, we can help restore public trust in government," Auditor Galloway said. "For the third year in a row, there's a bill in the General Assembly that would shine a greater light on public contracts awarded to supporters of dark money groups."
Senate Bill 735 would require any person or company entering into a public contract for more than $5,000 to disclose annual payments greater than $500 made to a 501(c)(4) not-for-profit organization. Such organizations include what are known as dark money groups. The legislation also would require anyone with more than a 10% interest in the contracting company to disclose payments they make of more than $500 to a dark money group.
A copy of Auditor Galloway's letter to Gov. Parson is available here.
Editor's Note: Gov. Parson's recent comments referenced above can be found here.