State Auditor Nicole Galloway says her office will help to investigate allegations that Attorney General Josh Hawley used public funds to fuel his successful U.S. Senate bid. Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft requested Galloway, a Democrat, to help in the probe involving his Republican colleague.
Ashcroft is charged as secretary of state to investigate election violations. In a letter to Galloway Monday, Ashcroft cites Galloway having subpoena power, unlike Ashcroft. A routine closeout audit of Hawley’s office will begin after Hawley officially resigns for his U.S. Senate seat. Hawley is expected to step down on January 3.
“The goal of an independent audit is to get to the truth for taxpayers and not to proceed based on assumptions,” Galloway says in a letter to Ashcroft. “My office will review these concerns with heightened scrutiny.”
Ashcroft has asked Galloway for records during her audit that are relative to the allegations against Hawley. He also wants his office to sit in on any interviews and depositions that Galloway’s office would conduct.
The allegations have been leveraged by the Democratic-leaning group American Democracy Legal Fund (ADLF).
The Kansas City Star first reported that outside political consultants directed and “gave guidance” to Hawley’s taxpayer-funded staff in the Attorney General’s Office. The newspaper said those consultants, who went on to run Hawley’s Senate campaign, continued to meet with the attorney general’s staff during business hours in his official offices in the state Supreme Court building in Jefferson City.
Hawley’s office has responded to the accusations. In a letter to Ashcroft’s office, Solicitor General D. John Sauer says the ADLF’s complaint is a “frivolous act of political harassment”. Sauer goes on to say that Brad Woodhouse, who leads the ADLF, is a well-known Democratic operative for a leftist political organization.
He says the group regularly attacked Hawley during Hawley’s recent successful campaign for the U.S. Senate and has filed multiple legal complaints against the attorney general in various forums. Sauer says Woodhouse filed this particular complaint seven days before the General Election—well within the ordinary blackout period for campaign-related complaints under Missouri’s ethics laws.
Read Galloway’s full response here. Galloway spokeswoman Steph Deidrick tells Missourinet they cannot comment beyond what’s in the news release.
Individuals with information that may be relevant to the audit can contact the State Auditor’s Whistleblower Hotline at [email protected] or by calling 800-347-8597. Concerns may also be submitted anonymously online at auditor.mo.gov/hotline.
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