Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri Auditor: Nixon Let State Boards Sink into 'Bureaucratic Oblivion'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri Auditor: Nixon Let State Boards Sink into 'Bureaucratic Oblivion'

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY * In a report released Monday, Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway chided former Gov. Jay Nixon's administration for letting state boards and commissions languish and for liberal use of state resources for personal purposes.

The 28-page audit is addressed to both Nixon and current Gov. Eric Greitens, and includes recommendations for tightening up operations in the state's executive branch.

Nixon, a Democrat, appointed Galloway in 2015 following the death of then-Auditor Tom Schweich. Galloway, a Democrat, faces a statewide vote for the first time in 2018.

Galloway gave the administration a "fair" rating in the audit, which the office is obligated to perform by state law. She said that, in general, the governor's office did not correct course after other audits pointed out shortfalls within the executive branch.

One criticism that dogged Nixon during his two terms was his use of Missouri Highway Patrol aircraft to crisscross the state, something Greitens, a Republican, has mostly sworn off.

In the report, Galloway's office found that Nixon used the state aircraft to fly to St. Louis, particularly during his final months in office.

From late October to January, 24 of 28 flights in state aircraft included stops in the St. Louis area. On 16 of those 24 trips, Nixon made a stop at his new home, costing taxpayers $33,200.

"Most of the trips where the Governor went to his residence necessitated two round-trip flights from Jefferson City to St. Louis, one to take him and one to pick him up," the audit adds.

The audit also notes Nixon charged the state personal food costs for him and his family and that Nixon used the Highway Patrol for security and transportation for "all official, political and personal activities."

"The Governor did not reimburse the state for any political or personal use of state resources," the audit said.

Galloway says state law is "ambiguous" and "contradictory" when it comes to governors using state resources for personal purposes and suggests that the Legislature should clarify the statute.

A former deputy chief of staff to Nixon responded in the audit that Nixon was "on duty at all times" and that other governors used similar practices. …

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