The state auditor questions whether Governor Nixon is violating the state constitution by stockpiling money for disaster relief in Joplin and in other parts of the state. Auditor Tom Schweich says everybody wants to help Missouri’s disaster areas. But he says there’s no basis in the state constitution for Governor Nixon to withhold money appropriated for one purpose and spend it for another.
Schweich complains Nixon’s budget director, Linda Luebbering, could not show any documented justification for the actions. She says she was asked for specific calculations coming to a specific number. She says there are a lot of variables that go into the discussions that have led to the policy.
As for the governor being a super legislature, as Schweich claims—Luebbering says the legislature did provide for funding disaster relief but left the governor with the discretion to pull money away from some specific appropriations and put it into the disaster fund.
Schweich says he hopes the disagreement does not lead to litigation to determine if the governor has the power to divert millions of dollars for disaster relief, especially since all of that money won’t be needed in one year.