An audit is underway of the Missouri Department of Conservation.

State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick said in a press release that he wants to provide an “additional layer of accountability” in the wake of a Missouri Supreme Court ruling. The High Court ruled last year that the Missouri Legislature does not have the authority to tell the Conservation Department how it can spend its money.

Fitzpatrick said the ruling has given the Department of Conservation “unprecedented autonomy” over how it spends its $215 million budget. He also said his audit will review how effectively the department is spending taxpayer dollars “to accomplish its mission.”

The department was last audited in 2018 when it received a rating of “fair.”

The Missouri Department of Conservation is funded by a one-eighth of one percent sales tax, which generates approximately $160 million in funding each year that goes directly to the agency. The department also receives funding from permit sales, federal aid, and income from sales and rentals. While the department has a dedicated funding stream, the General Assembly appropriates the funds to the department each year.

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