The Blunt Administration today acknowledged that it broke the law when it ordered various agencies within the Department of Public Safety to investigate State Agriculture Director Fred Ferrell. Public Safety spokesperson, Terri Durdaller, says the governor earlier this year ordered investigators from the State Highway Patrol, the State Water Patrol, the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, and Capitol Police to look into allegations against Ferrell. Durdaller says state law, that dates back to 1939, prohibits the governor or anyone else from ordering any member of the State Highway Patrol to perform any duties not authorized by state law. Durdaller, though, says the administration was following precedent set by former administrations, both Democrat and Republican, that have used the patrol to investigate various matters. She adds that the Blunt Administration’s use of the Highway Patrol is consistent with how the state Supreme Court and the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee has used the patrol. Durdaller says Governor Blunt is willing to ask the legislature to change the law to clarify the duties of the patrol. Today was the first time the administration admitted that the State Highway Patrol conducted the investigation of Ferrell. The Missourinet has requested information about the investigation since first learning on May 15th that Ferrell had been placed on paid administrative leave on the 5th. Ferrell had been placed on administrative leave for an undisclosed reason. The nature of the investigation into Ferrell’s conduct has never been disclosed.
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