Tuesday, December 19, 2017
State auditor supports legislation providing more tools to fight public corruption
Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway is giving strong support to newly introduced legislation that would provide law enforcement additional tools to hold accountable public officials who abuse their authority. Senate Bill 552, sponsored by state Sen. Bob Dixon of Springfield, includes greater penalties in public corruption cases and allows increased partnerships between the State Auditor and prosecutors and law enforcement in such cases.
"Missouri public officials at every level are entrusted with authority and responsibility," Auditor Galloway said. "When that authority and responsibility are abused, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors need a variety of tools to seek justice and restore public trust. Having the ability to work in greater partnership with law enforcement is a clear step forward in that direction."
"Protecting taxpayers from fraud and misconduct via the very public servants they elect or hire is job number one," Sen. Dixon said. "Auditor Galloway and Missouri Prosecutors are to be commended for their successful efforts this session. It's been my honor to work with them to protect taxpayers."
“When intentional misconduct happens, it's a matter of ethics and integrity," said Amy Fite, President of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorney and Christian County Prosecuting Attorney. "When public officials breach the public trust, prosecutors, law enforcement and the Auditor need to be able to effectively work together to protect citizens and remove bad actors from office.”
During the 2017 General Assembly, Auditor Galloway worked on anti-corruption, good-government legislation with Sen. Dixon, state Rep. Joe Don McGaugh and other legislators, as well as the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. In a bipartisan vote, state lawmakers passed Senate Bill 128, an omnibus bill that included provisions of the new legislation, which contained the provision for increased partnerships also contained in the new legislation. That bill was vetoed.
This summer, Auditor Galloway met with prosecutors and community leaders throughout Missouri to discuss issues related to public accountability, including the ongoing efforts to strengthen penalties for wrongdoing.
In addition to increasing accountability in public officials, Auditor Galloway's legislative priorities for the 2018 session also include restoring and improving protections for government whistleblowers, and better safeguarding the data of students through increased cyber awareness.