Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today said she appreciates the ongoing cooperation of state government departments and offices as work continues to ensure accountability with the unprecedented amount of federal funds flowing into the state. The Governor's Office initially resisted efforts by the Auditor to pursue answers on COVID-19 relief funding, but state agencies have so far complied with auditors' informational requests.
"Two weeks ago, the Governor claimed I didn't have the authority to ask questions or access information on behalf of Missouri taxpayers. Meanwhile, his departments have been answering my audit team's inquiries and complying with requests for additional information," Auditor Galloway said. "The drama from the Governor was completely unnecessary. Missourians expect all of us to work together during these challenging times."
In an April 22 letter, the Governor's office refused to provide details on plans for state departments related to COVID-19 relief funds. Auditor Galloway pledged to continue pursuing answers for taxpayers and ensuring transparency with the more than $2 billion received by the state so far. 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."
State departments within the Governor's administration have since cooperated with inquiries by audit staff. Last week, Auditor Galloway announced the launch of a transparency portal to track COVID-19 response spending by the State of Missouri, which was possible with information provided by the Governor's Office of Administration. Additionally, the Auditor's Office plans to release a series of reports informing the public of additional details related to the receipt of federal funds and state spending.