An audit of the Attorney General’s office raises questions about an appearance of impropriety but says Attorney General Chris Koster has corrected the problem. Auditor Tom Schweich had questioned Koster’s authority to reject the Office of Administration’s hiring of an outside lawyer to handle cases the Attorney General cannot handle Schweich says the procedure lets an Attorney General reject contracts until one is given to a campaign supporter. Koster says he interprets the law, which passed the legislature with only one negative vote, to let him reject contract lawyers who are donors, thereby avoiding conflicts of interest or charges of favoritism.
“The appropriate thing to do is to take yourself out of the selection process entirely or decline to accept to accept campaign contributions from people who are bidding,” says Schweich.
Koster has withdrawn all requests for attorneys to apply to represent the state in those cases and will not retain the right to reject the choice made by the Office of Administration.
Schweich says Koster and his staff have not properly documented the reasons that certain expert witnesses are paid, noting the Attorney General has spent $4.6 million in the last three years for those services. Koster says expert witnesses are picked on the basis of availability, expertise, and rates. He has agreed to keep better records on why they are chosen.