Legislation that would authorize the statutorily-required independent audit of the State Auditor’s office was approved Wednesday by the bipartisan Missouri House Special Committee on Government Oversight.
Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, testified last week before the committee, noting that state law requires this.
“This is done statutorily on odd-numbered years by the General Assembly,” Rowden says. “It is instructed by statute, in section 29.351.”
Rowden’s resolution authorizes the employment of an independent certified public accountant (CPA) to perform an audit on the programs and management of Auditor Nicole Galloway’s (D) office.
Rowden emphasizes state statute requires this. He tells Missourinet that it’s about keeping the auditor accountable, regardless of party.
“It’s the reason why we employ and hire an independent firm just to make sure the (state) auditor’s on the up-and-up and we’ll get that done this year and hopefully she’ll pass with good remarks,” says Rowden.
Rowden testifies the audit is done in odd-numbered years, adding that it’s been in statute “for decades.”
The legislation calls for an independent CPA, who would submit a written report to the Legislature, the Auditor’s office and to the governor.
State Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, who serves on the oversight committee, supports Rowden’s bill, noting it’s state statute and that it’s important to hold government officials accountable. However, Representative Merideth says this will be the third time in five years that Galloway has faced this audit.
“I just think it’s notable that none of us knew it (the statute) existed why, because it wasn’t used prior to this auditor (Galloway). I think it was used once with the previous auditor,” Merideth says.
Merideth is referring to former GOP Auditor Tom Schweich, who died in 2015. Then-Governor Jay Nixon (D) appointed Galloway to the auditor’s post, after Schweich’s death. Galloway won her November 2018 election.
Merideth tells Missourinet that Galloway faced this audit in 2015 and in 2017 and has been audited five overall times in the past four years.
He says all of the audits have shown that Galloway’s office “is doing a fantastic job”, and says he welcomes another audit to show the same thing.
Rowden’s bill now heads to the Missouri House floor. It was approved by the Missouri Senate in February.
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