State Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, is furious because he says more than 163,000 Missouri concealed-carry weapons permit holders have had their personal information turned over to federal officials.
“It is absolutely illegal,” Nieves told The Missourian.
The personal information that was turned over included names, photos, dates of birth and Social Security numbers, Nieves said.
The government has violated people’s privacy with this “bold and brazen” action, said Nieves, who recently made an emotional speech on the Senate floor about the issue.
The information was turned over to an agent with the U.S. Social Security Administration, he said.
“You are talking about a situation begging for identify theft,” Nieves said.
He said the information was presented on an Excel spreadsheet and sent on a disc through the U.S. Mail, not a secure channel.
In addition, the pass code to unlock the disc was included in the mailing, he said. He asked what is the point in having a pass code if it is included with the mailed package.
Sending this information to federal officials was directly in violation of state statute, he said, adding that he calls on Attorney General Chris Koster to prosecute those involved. The attorney general is tasked with protecting the privacy of Missouri citizens, Nieves asserted.
Attorney General Koster did not return a phone call from The Missourian seeking comment.
Nieves said he and others are in the process of combing through thousands of pages of emails and “interdepartmental transmissions” that were subpoenaed from the Department of Revenue.
The personal information on the concealed-carry weapons permit holders got turned over to federal officials after a request was sent to the State Highway Patrol’s Missouri Information Analysis Center, Nieves said.
The federal agent who requested the information works for the Social Security Administration, Nieves said. The agent made the request for the information in conjunction with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, he added.
The federal official requested information on all Missourians who have concealed-carry weapons permits, Nieves said.
Then the Missouri Department of Revenue illegally compiled the list with all of the personal information, Nieves said.
The federal agent who requested the information said it was for an ongoing investigation into fraud in the Social Security system, Nieves said.
“Illegal” ID System
Moreover, Nieves said the Missouri Department of Revenue broke the law by saving “source” documents, such as Social Security Cards and birth certificates.
The Department of Revenue scans the documents, and information required to print a driver’s license is sent to a central repository in Georgia, he said.
This is all an attempt to illegally instate Real ID in Missouri, Nieves said.
Federal Real ID is illegal in Missouri, according to Nieves, who says the governor has fulfilled 15 of the 17 requirements to get a “full blown” system in place. Such a system is “Orwellian,” he said, adding that Gov. Jay Nixon refuses to tell the Department of Revenue to stop moving ahead with the Real ID system.
“Missouri law is being broken by Missouri government,” Nieves said.
A Missouri Department of Revenue spokesman says the state is not implementing Real ID.
Department of Revenue spokesman Ted Farnen said in a prepared statement, “The state is not complying with the federal Real ID law. A Missouri law specifically forbids the state from complying with it, and the department abides by that state law.”
It is hard to say what will happen next in terms of Missouri residents’ information being turned over to federal officials, Nieves said.
Meanwhile, he said it will be easy for people to say that he is on a “witch hunt.”
Anyone involved with the information being turned over should be dismissed from their jobs, he said.
If a private company did half of what state government has done in this case, there would be criminal charges filed, Nieves said.
But the governor seems to do nothing about it while the attorney general sweeps it under the rug, Nieves said.
Gov. Nixon’s office referred comments on the matter to the Department of Revenue.