State Auditor Tom Schweich today released the audits of the Missouri House of Representatives and the Missouri Senate. In the areas audited, both bodies received a rating of “Good,” according to a press release.
The audit shows the House provided pay raises to its staff that were not provided to Senate staff or other state employees. These raises totaled approximately $425,000, representing approximately a 5 percent increase to employees, and were in addition to the 2 percent cost of living adjustment provided to all state employees paid less than $70,000 per year.
“The House needs to obtain and retain adequate documentation for items identified as stolen,” Schweich’s audit says. “In May 2012, three laptops and two printers, totaling $4,952 were identified as stolen and deleted from the general capital asset listing, but neither of the two representatives reporting the assets as stolen provided a police report and/or affidavit stating the circumstances around the theft.”
On the Senate side, Schweich says the Senate solicited contributions from lobbyists during fiscal year 2011 for the Senate Administrator’s Fund and used the fund to pay various questionable costs.
“During the two years ended June 30, 2012, the Senate spent $8,689 from the Senate Administrator’s Fund for a senator retirement dinner and retirement gifts, expenditures that would not be allowable for state agencies.”
Both bodies lack a formal written policy for the use and retention of e-mail correspondence, and both assert that the Sunshine Law does not apply to records of individual members, but the law related to the matter is ambiguous, Schweich’s office reports.
House democrats have responded to Schweich’s assertion that neither has a clear policy on the Sunshine Law, saying they support open records policies.
“The House Democratic Caucus shares State Auditor Thomas Schweich’s concerns regarding the claim by House Republican leaders that the official records of individual state representatives aren’t subject to public disclosure under Missouri’s Sunshine Law,” House Minority Leader Jake Hummel (D-St. Louis) says in a press release. “House Democrats believe this interpretation is wholly unsupported by state law and was concocted to discourage Missourians from seeking official records to which they are entitled. Despite the House majority party’s interpretation, it has long been the policy of the House Democratic Caucus to honor Sunshine Law requests for official documents held by Democratic state representatives, and we will continue to do so.”
To read the full audits, including Citizen’s Summaries visit: