(From State Auditor Nicole Galloway and Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield)
Today State Auditor Nicole Galloway and Senator Bob Dixon called on the General Assembly to move forward with efforts to provide law enforcement additional tools to hold accountable public officials who abuse their authority. The bill has been proposed and received bipartisan support for two years.
Legislation sponsored by Sen. Dixon would have included greater penalties in public corruption cases and allowed increased partnerships between the State Auditor and prosecutors and law enforcement. In 2017, the provision allowing for increased partnerships to fight public corruption was approved by both chambers as part of a larger bill, but was vetoed by the Governor. In 2018, a version of the measure was approved in both the House and Senate, but ultimately was blocked by the lobbying efforts of county officials and died in the House in the final days of session.
In today's statement, Auditor Galloway and Sen. Dixon encouraged the General Assembly to continue work on the anti-corruption, good-government legislation in the future. The legislation is also supported by the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and prosecuting attorneys have testified in support of the bill before the legislature.
"This issue can best be understood as a way to support accountability and transparency from elected officials. Taxpayers have a reasonable expectation that their hard-earned tax dollars will be spent with integrity," Sen. Dixon said. "This is a common-sense approach supported by local prosecutors that will give them to tools to fight public corruption. Accountability and integrity are core principles we expect from elected officials. I appreciate Auditor Galloway's work on this bipartisan issue."
"Senator Dixon is a principled public servant who truly understands fighting fraud is key to maintaining the public's trust in good government. He has worked for two sessions to navigate this bipartisan bill through the House and Senate," Auditor Galloway said. "Twice we have seen this public corruption legislation stopped in its tracks — first by a veto and then by the efforts of county officials to protect their own self interests. Next year, the legislature needs to step up and provide law enforcement with the tools they need to combat fraud and seek justice for taxpayers."