An audit of the Governor’s Office suggests Governor Bob Holden is hiding some of his expenses in other state agencies. State Auditor Claire McCaskill says the Governor appears to be doing an end run around the state budget process by using money from other state agencies to pay the salaries of some people who work in his office. The audit also suggests the Governor is using money from other state agencies to pay for his use of the state airplane. The audit says as many as ten individuals located in and supervised by the Governor’s Office were partly paid by money appropriated to other state agencies, although they made out time sheets for the Office of Governor. The Governor’s Office says it has been common practice as far back as 1977 to use money from other state agencies to pay employees of the Governor’s Office if those employees do work for those agencies. The audit also looks at 113 airplane flights taken by Governor Holden in calendar year 2001, the year he took office. Auditor McCaskill says the Governor’s Office paid 95 percent of the flight costs in the first half of the fiscal year. But that situation changed at midyear, about the time publicity about the Governor’s flying came out. After that, says the Auditor, the Governor’s Office only paid 59 percent of the flight costs, with 12 state agencies pickup up other costs and in the last six months of the year, other state agencies paid all of the costs for 29 of the Governor’s flights. The Governor’s Office says it’s appropriate for other agencies to pay travel expenses for the Governor if he’s traveling at the agency’s request. But, McCaskill says it apprently did not become “appropriate” until the second half of Holden’s first year in office. McCaskill is reportedly thinking of challenging Holden in next year’s Democratic primary for Governor.
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