Missouri state auditor and Democratic candidate for governor Nicole Galloway is not backing down to her critics who are calling for an independent audit of her office.
Last week, Senate pro tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, called for the audit after alleged irregularities and improprieties in the office’s work.
Galloway told The Missourian no one is immune and each time her office has been audited it has received a clean outcome.
“We have been reviewed by our peers,” Galloway said. “State auditors from across the country have given us the highest rating you can get.”
The auditor answered questions about the investigation Thursday during the annual meeting of the Missouri Press Association at the state Capitol in Jefferson City.
Schatz filed SB 927 last week authorizing an independent audit of the state auditor’s office.
The legislation is in line with state statutes which require the General Assembly to periodically audit state offices to maintain the integrity of the offices.
The fact that the legislation has been filed when Galloway is challenging Republican governor and former state senator Mike Parson has raised eyebrows.
“If they want to audit our office, go ahead,” Galloway said. “Usually, in the past, there is an audit for an office once every term. I have been audited five times in the past four years.”
She added her office has been audited three times by the Legislature, including the office cyber security.
“Gov. Greitens also audited my CPA license,” Galloway said. “That audit came back clean.”
Galloway is currently the only Democrat holding a statewide office in Missouri. She was originally appointed to the office by then Gov. Jay Nixon in 2015 and handily won re-election in 2018.
While speaking to members of the press Thursday, Galloway said the government should not be looking for ways to hide things and transparency allows citizens to participate in the process.
She also attacked Gov. Mike Parson for his office citing the First Amendment to redact information in Sunshine requests from the public or media outlets.
“The tone from the top really does matter,” she said. “Officials should lead by example and the public’s business should be available to the public.”
Galloway cited a self-deleting text message application used by members of former Gov. Eric Greitens staff.
“In the wake of the Greitens scandal, a measure was passed in the House in 2019 to eliminate those types of apps, but it died in the Senate,” Galloway said. “There was a lot of talk about changing government, but there was no real action.”
Later in the day, Parson answered some of Galloway’s attacks.
“We have a staff that does nothing but answer Sunshine requests,” Parson said. “We are being as open as we can possibly be.”
Parson added during his time as governor and 17 months as lieutenant governor, his staff has never used the self-deleting messaging apps, but instead accuse Galloway’s staff of using the same application as Greitens.