September 1, 2014

House Republican ‘appalled’ by lack of action on impeachment filings against Gov. Nixon

The latest House Republican to file articles of impeachment against Governor Jay Nixon (D) says he is “appalled” his majority party’s leadership has not advanced any proposals to impeach the Governor since their filing.

Representative Rick Brattin (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel; Missouri House Communications)

Representative Rick Brattin (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel; Missouri House Communications)

Representative Rick Brattin (R-Harrisonville) has filed two articles of impeachment against Nixon. He says Nixon violated the state Constitution by not disciplining or firing members of the executive branch for their roles in the scanning and retention of concealed carry endorsement documents by the Department of Revenue, and the release twice of personal information related to those documents to federal authorities.

Brattin says Nixon should be held accountable.  His filing is HR 923.

“When you’re in charge,” Brattin says of Nixon, “the buck stops with you and we’ve had thousands of people’s important documents being scanned and sent over to another state and now are no telling where and I think it’s ridiculous and egregious.”

Brattin follows fellow Republicans Nick Marshall (R-Parkville) and Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove) who have also filed articles of impeachment against the Governor. He co-sponsors their efforts as they do his and one another’s.

Marshall filed two articles saying Nixon’s executive order instructing the Department of Revenue to accept joint tax returns from same-sex couples violated the state Constitution. Moon says in one article that Nixon violated the Constitution by not acting fast enough to set special election dates to fill vacant seats in the House and the Senate.

No action has been taken on those articles since they were filed a month ago.

Brattin says those legislators raise important issues and he hopes their filings and his will be allowed to move through the legislative process.

“We swore an oath to uphold, defend the Constitution before any type of legislative agenda … before anything. When we have somebody acting out of the Constitution and out of their authority, then they should be held to account,” Brattin tells Missourinet. “I think it should move and I’m appalled that it really hasn’t, unfortunately.”

Brattin says it is a political decision not to take up the arguments against Nixon.

“It’s an election year and we have a lot we want to do legislatively for jobs and things like that, and I’m right there too,” says Brattin, “and I have constituents all the time saying, ‘We see Barack Obama doing all this type of stuff and why isn’t anybody doing anything?’ We here at the state level wonder why isn’t the federal government doing anything? Well, we right here at the state level have the same thing going on with our governor. Are we not going to stand up and do what we’re calling the federal government to do?”

House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) says the three filings are still being studied.

“We want to make sure we move them forward in the right way,” Jones says. “We’re going to have to go back and look what was done with the previous articles and I think they were moved to a committee for study, and so we’ll have to look at that prior determination and move along that same track.”

Articles of impeachment move through the legislative process in the House similarly to the way a bill would. They would have to be first referred to a committee. If the articles are passed in the House, Nixon would be tried by a commission of seven eminent jurists elected by the Senate.

Related stories:

Another Article of Impeachment filed against Governor Nixon

Two Articles of Impeachment filed against Governor Nixon (AUDIO/COPY OF THE ARTICLES)

Articles of Impeachment filed against Governor Nixon over action on same-sex tax filing

Openly-gay lawmaker discusses impeachment effort over same-sex tax filing (AUDIO)

State lawmaker: DOR scans a violation of law, Governor’s office behind them

The Chairman of a House Committee investigating whether Missouri law was violated in regard to the federal Real I.D. Act says it was, and says there is a connection to the Governor’s office.

Stoddard County Prosecutor Russell Oliver (left) questions a witness testifying to the Bipartisan Investigative Committee on Privacy Protection, as chairman Stanley Cox (right) listens.

Stoddard County Prosecutor Russell Oliver (left) questions a witness testifying to the Bipartisan Investigative Committee on Privacy Protection, as chairman Stanley Cox (right) listens.

A Missouri law enacted in 2009 opted the state out of the federal Real I.D. law. The Bipartisan Investigative Committee on Privacy Protection has focused on a new license procedure that included the scanning and retention of personal documents supplied by applicants for Missouri drivers’ and non-driver’s licenses and concealed carry permits. The committee’s chairman, Representative Stanley Cox (R-Sedalia), says that process violated state law.

“They say they didn’t have a purposeful design but they did things that were specifically authorized by not only Real I.D. directly, but also by the private agency that sets the standards and rules of it. If you put all that together, they were certainly implementing Real I.D. in many ways.”

The scanning and retention of documents has been discontinued except in some cases, such as for a commercial driver’s license.

The Committee’s members have asked numerous representatives of the Nixon administration, under oath, questions about whether Governor Nixon himself was behind the alleged implementation of Real I.D. Cox says none of them are talking.

“Certainly I believe that more than the Department of Revenue knew this. I think the Governor’s Office knew it. We just have to reach conclusions about who made the decision and I guess people are maybe going to have to draw their own mind when they look at the facts.”

The Committee will hold one more hearing in August. Cox says he wants to dig deeper into the fraudulent issuance of identifications to about 3,500 illegal immigrants from the St. Joseph License Bureau that resulted in nine indictments in January 2012.  He says he’s run into a roadblock with the Revenue Department, though.

Policy Director to Governor Jay Nixon, Jeff Harris, testifies to the House Bipartisan Investigative Committee on Privacy Protection.  Harris and five others were the targets of subpoenas by the House last month but did not appear.  Those subpoenas were blocked by a judge.

Policy Director to Governor Jay Nixon, Jeff Harris, testifies to the House Bipartisan Investigative Committee on Privacy Protection. Harris and five others were the targets of subpoenas by the House last month but did not appear. Those subpoenas were blocked by a judge.

“I had sent an open meetings request and they said they can’t give me any information about it because it’s an active, ongoing investigation.”

Cox says he’d be surprised to learn that the investigation is still ongoing.

“Based upon information we’ve received from a very reliable source, I think that investigation is long since ended. There’s been at least one federal prosecution, there was a guilty plea about a month ago … a sentencing of an individual up in St. Joe … and I don’t think there are any other investigations, but if there are we need to know the status.”

The Committee also has gotten to talk to all the individuals it subpoenaed last month that didn’t show up, after being advised not to honor those subpoenas by an attorney for the governor’s office. Cox says they attended the hearing voluntarily, but says they were not very cooperative.

“Generally not particularly forthcoming in regard to whether the chief executive had any clue about what was going on in the Department of Revenue, and they certainly all deny that anything that they did was a violation of he state law.”

Asked where Cox sees a definitive connection between the implementation of Real I.D. and the Governor’s Office, he says that will be detailed in the committee’s findings and report.

“I think the committee members generally have some inclination that the implementation of Real I.D. was in fact the goal of this administration.”

Cox also wants to call at least one more witness to talk about the Governor’s involvement. 

“I haven’t picked the person’s name.  Somebody in the Governor’s office.”

House panel holds day one of testimony about Real ID compliance

The House Bipartisan Committee on Privacy Protection has asked whether the Department of Revenue has moved closer to complying with the federal Real ID Act, after a 2009 Missouri law barred compliance. The Committee was appointed to dig into whether the Department is mishandling personal information from Missouri license applicants.

Much of its hearing Tuesday focused on a letter from Department Director Alana Barragan-Scott to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano outlining 39 things that a state must do to comply with Real ID.

Osage County Sheriff Michael Dixon tells the Department’s head of driver’s licensing, Jackie Benboom, that letter raises doubts about whether the Department has in fact done nothing to comply.

“Any average person that picked up this document and read it would have believed that the Department of Revenue was clearly, in fact, complying with Real ID.”

Under oath, Benboom says that document was part of her agency’s effort to tell the federal government Missourians shouldn’t have to endure extra security checks just because Missouri was not Real ID compliant.

“What the federal government has said is that Missouri citizens … would have to have a second check when you are flying on an airplane or if you would go into [a federal government office] or like, the nuclear plant, on federal land.”

Cape Girardeau County Sheriff John Jordan asked Benboom about a 2011 letter she sent to Hal Tyson, a Program Management Specialist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, applying for an extension of a Fiscal Year 2008 REAL ID Demonstration Grant.

In that letter she says, “Missouri currently has legislation enacted that generally prohibits participation in REAL ID; however, over the past decade, Missouri has worked hard to implement a program for issuing driver licenses and identification cards with security standards consistent with the standards of the REAL ID Act.”

Jordan says it appears that she was saying Missouri would comply with Real ID in order to receive the grant money but Benboom disagrees.

“It may appear, but that’s not what we were doing.’

Jordan tells her, “Perception is reality and you can say ‘It’s not so,’ as many times as you want to, but it appears that this is a duck and you’re trying to tell us it’s a goose.”

Benboom and committee members disagreed whether Missouri has become more compliant with Real ID, or whether the state simply has a system that is comparable.

The Committee will take more testimony on Thursday. While it is meeting, House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) will conduct a conference call to discuss legal actions being prepared to compel officials in Governor Jay Nixon’s administration to fully cooperate with an investigation into the Department of Revenue’s actions. The Committee voted to subpoena several members of the Nixon Administration to appear and testify. They are Doug Nelson, Kristy Manning, Peter Lyskowski, Jeff Harris and Chris Pieper as well as former Revenue Department director Alana Barragan-Scott.

 

 

Nixon calls concealed carry situation ‘kerfuffle,’ distraction from Medicaid expansion (AUDIO)

Governor Jay Nixon says he was focused on security and privacy when he made the decision to have the Department of Revenue stop scanning qualification certificates for concealed carry endorsements. When pressed for details on related issues, however, Nixon became agitated and told reporters the issues regarding CCW information scans and dissemination are just a distraction from the issue of Medicaid expansion.

Governor Jay Nixon fields questions from reporters about CCW scans and their handling after speaking at a Medicaid expansion rally in the State Capitol Rotunda.

Governor Jay Nixon fields questions from reporters about CCW scans and their handling after speaking at a Medicaid expansion rally in the State Capitol Rotunda.

Nixon, fielding questions after speaking to an estimated 1,200 people at a Medicaid expansion rally in the State Capitol, told reporters, “What you’re seeing is a major kerfuffle to try to change not only the public’s focus of attention over something that is in this corner and to ignore what just has happened right here,” referring to the rally.

Nixon’s announcement Tuesday morning says the Department will quit scanning those certificates of qualification, but the Department has said it will continue to scan other documents. Nixon says the Department will work with policy makers to decide how to move forward.

“Those records are used, and quite frankly records in the public sector are used a lot, to make sure that public safety is protected whether its background checks and all the other stuff that are out there, and law enforcement purposes.”

The Revenue Department has testified to a House Committee that concealed carry and driver’s license applicant information that has been scanned is being stored in the state data center in Jefferson City. The Department has said it will find and delete the CCW qualifying certificates from that database.

Asked whether copies of other documents that have been scanned will be destroyed, Nixon again defers, “I’ll leave that to the Department of Revenue to go through any other details.”

Asked about Nixon’s assessment that the CCW situation is merely a distraction from Medicaid expansion, Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) says it’s a serious issue.

“I would say that is a gross misunderstanding of the concerns of the public, on the behalf of the Governor.”

Schaefer says Nixon needs to act further.

“The Governor is responsible directly for what happens at the Department of Revenue including the Department of Motor Vehicles. At some point the Governor is going to have to step up the plate. He’s going to have to be frank with Missourians about what is being done with their personal information and say whether or not he thinks this new policy of keeping personal information and sharing it with outside sources in violation of state law is a good thing or a bad thing.”

Nixon says lawmakers need to spend more time talking about Medicaid expansion, calling it “the most significant public policy issue” he’s faced in 26 years.

“It’s time folks got back to work here and focused on what needs to get done. What needs to get done is we need to get $2 billion dollars down, we need to get downward pressure on healthcare premiums, we need to improve Medicaid. That is the key issue of this session.”

AUDIO: Hear the complete Q & A between reporters and Nixon, 4:14

Senator: ATF also wanted Missouri concealed carry holder information

The Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman says he’s learned that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms also wanted a list of Missouri concealed carry permit holders’ names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth.

State Senator Kurt Schaefer (right) announces the latest findings in his probe into the release of Missouri CCW holders' information, joined by Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder (left).

State Senator Kurt Schaefer (right) announces the latest findings in his probe into the release of Missouri CCW holders’ information, joined by Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder (left).

Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) says according to an internal e-mail from the Highway Patrol, when the Social Security Administration requested a list of Missouri concealed carry permit holders, it said it was to conduct a joint investigation with the ATF.

See the internal e-mails Schaefer refers to (pdf).

A list was sent to the Social Security Administration but Schaefer doesn’t know if one went to the Bureau

“All I know at this point is it appears from the internal documents that the Department of Revenue, before they produced the information, knew that it was a joint request from both.”

Schaefer says, that the Revenue Department and Highway Patrol knew the ATF wanted the list is what concerns him the most.

“We’ve had a couple weeks’ worth of hearings and we have heard nothing about ATF, anyone knowing that this was going to ATF, until we actually came across it in the documents.”

The letter Schaefer is referring to on Monday was read to the House Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability by Highway Patrol Superintendent, Colonel Ron Replogle. Replogle did not state whether information was sent to the ATF.

Asked whether it is appropriate for the Bureau or the Social Security Administration, both law enforcement agencies, to have access to that information, Schaefer says it might be on an individual basis. He says to use the entire list of more than 160,000 Missourians who have CCWs is profiling.

A request has been made to have a Social Security Administration investigator testify to the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the Senator says he plans to make a similar request to the ATF to find out if it received the CCW list.

Schaefer says the documents also reveal that the second disc sent to the Social Security Administration was not encrypted, as lawmakers have been told.

“Apparently it was just on an XL protected, password protected file, and the actual password was on a piece of paper in the package with the discs.”

That password was “MOccw.”

The development has caught the attention of Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer. In a statement, his office says Luetkemeyer has sent a letter to the ATF asking about how involved it was in what he calls a “scandal.”

See Congressman Luetkemeyer’s letter to acting ATF Director B. Todd Jones.