Auditor Tom Schweich is blasting an editorial in the St. Louis Post Dispatch that says his lawsuit over the Governor’s budget withholdings to help Joplin rebuild is based on personal vendetta.
Schweich says the Post ignores the media’s responsibility to present the facts clearly to the public. He quotes…
“That ‘Mr. Schweich wants the courts and public to believe his budget is more important than helping a city rebuild from one of the worst natural disasters in our state’s history…'”
“That is blatant dishonesty,” Schweich fires back. “It is corrupt, it is dishonest, it is libelous, it is false and it is a tremendous disservice to the people of Missouri who have to read junk like that when the Post Dispatch knows darn well just reading the lawsuit that is not what this lawsuit is about.”
Governor Nixon has cut about $150 million dollars from the state budget for disaster recovery. Schweich says Nixon does not have the authority to make that unilateral decision and has filed a lawsuit to stop him.
Scweich says Nixon made those cuts on the backs of the people of Missouri who benefit from them — parents, children and the elderly. Schweich disputes that he is politicizing a tragic situation and when asked if he would have filed the same suit against a Republican governor, his answer was, “With a hundred percent certainty.”
“I’ve got extended family down there,” he says. “I’ve been down there. I’ve given them accounting advice. I’ve met with the people. I’ve expressed my empathy and sympathy for them. And for them to write an article saying I don’t care about them is corrupt, dishonest and a total disservice to the people of Missouri.”
Schweich wants a retraction and apology from the Post Dispatch.
He says he’s confident that he’s right in that the Governor does not have the right to withhold money from the budget before the money is appropriated, but he wants the courts to decide. Schweich says it will provide insight and clarity into what the Governor’s function is in this situation, what is the legislature’s role, and what his role is as state auditor. He says he believes the case will eventually be left up to the Supreme Court.