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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Schweich Audit Attacks Nixon

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Schweich audit attacks Nixon for shifting staff, travel costs
By Jo Mannies, Beacon political reporter   
www.stlbeacon.org
May 4, 2011
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State Auditor Tom Schweich's latest audit takes a swipe at Gov. Jay Nixon's habit of having some of his administration's various department and agencies cover some of his travel and other costs.
The audit, released today, focused on the Department of Revenue (DOR). Among other things, the audit "found that the department paid nearly $26,000 in salaries and other costs related to the governor's office and the Office of Administration (OA)."
"In fiscal year 2009, the funds went toward one staff member in the governor's office. In fiscal year 2010, the funding increased to three members of staff in the governor's office and two in the OA," the audit said. "It appears these employees were located in, and supervised by, the governor's office and the OA and performed functions related to those offices."
"The DOR also paid over $9,500 for 35 flights of the governor's office, only four of which included DOR personnel," the report continued. "The audit questions the appropriateness of these costs because the travel did not always benefit the DOR and department employees were frequently not on the flights. As previous audits have indicated, paying costs of other state agencies like this circumvents the appropriations process."
Nixon's office has yet to respond. But the Missouri Republican Party used the audit as an opportunity to once again jab at the governor's frequent travels. Republicans have been attacking Nixon for months over his travel bills, which included
"At a time when Missourians are cutting back and the state government is tightening its belt, Jay Nixon has deprived cash-strapped state agencies of valuable resources by forcing them to pay for his costly trips on the state plane. Instead of putting more dollars towards job creation and educating our children, Nixon has skimmed half-a-million in taxpayer funds to pay for his flights of fancy," said Lloyd Smith, Executive Director of the Missouri Republican Party. "Now, Missouri’s top government watchdog is once again blowing the whistle on Jay Nixon’s travel and his efforts to bury the costs in other departments."

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