The negative political ads have started to surface in the run-up to the November 3 election, including in the Missouri governor’s race. Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, faces State Auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democrat.

A television ad going after Galloway has been revised. The ad, produced by a political action committee backing Governor Parson, says “as auditor, Galloway flagrantly ignored ethics laws, failing to disclose her husband lobbied for state tax credits.” In a press call, Galloway says the ad is filled with lies.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway

“Let me be clear, no member of the Galloway family has ever lobbied the state of Missouri for tax credits on behalf of Veterans United Home Loans,” says Galloway. “The company itself has said so.”

Galloway says the PAC, called Uniting Missouri, is using “hit-and-run tactics.”

“They lie. They get caught lying, so they move onto the next lie,” says Galloway. They don’t think the media or the public is fast enough to stay ahead of their lies. I’m not going to play their game. I’m going to call it for what it is – a campaign of lies to distract voters from the governor’s incredible failure to lead our state through the biggest crisis we’ve faced in 100 years.”

The Missouri Ethics Commission’s website lists the state auditor’s husband, Jon, as a registered lobbyist for the Mortgage Research Center, known as Veterans United Home Loans, from September 2013 to March 2015. According to the Missouri Accountability Portal that shows citizens how the state is spending their money, the company was awarded $11 million in state tax credits in 2013.

Michael Berg, a spokesman for political action committee Uniting Missouri, says the group voluntarily made minor tweaks to the ad.

Original ad: “Galloway fragrantly ignored ethics laws, failing to disclose her husband lobbied for state tax credits.”

New ad: “Galloway ignored ethics laws, failing to disclose her husband lobbied for a company that got state tax credits.”

Photo courtesy of Parson for Missouri campaign page

In August, Missouri voters signed off on expanding government-funded Medicaid healthcare coverage to another 230,000 adults. Galloway has said she is concerned that Parson cannot be trusted to implement the expansion. She has said the governor would raise taxes to implement Medicaid expansion. Berg takes issue with that comment.

“Unlike Auditor Galloway, Governor Parson has a record of cutting taxes for Missourians,” says Berg.

At a press conference after the ballot measure’s passage, Gov. Parson, who opposed the expansion, was asked to comment about the outcome of the vote.

“The people voted for it we. So we’re going to implement it in the state of Missouri because that was the will of the voters. We just got to figure out – the big thing is where do you find the funding for it right now. You’re probably looking at $200 million or something like that off the bat,” says Parson. “So we’ve got to figure out where that funding is going to come from. Hopefully the economy gets better. Hopefully we can meet that financial obligation a little easier but right now it’s tough times.”

Berg says Galloway’s campaign falsely claims the governor opposes protections for pre-existing health conditions. Parson’s campaign website states that the governor and his administration helped to introduce legislation this year that would ban health insurance plans from imposing a preexisting condition exclusion and would require health insurance plans to offer coverage for dependent children up to age 26. The measures, Senate Bill 970 and House Bill 2507, got caught up in the COVID-19 storm, like many bills, and did not gain traction.

Other candidates running for Missouri governor in November are Libertarian Rik Combs and Green Party member Jerome Howard Bauer.

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