Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) questioned Tuesday whether Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway turned her office into a “giant political campaign” used to attack him while boosting her own chances of becoming governor.
Sen. Hawley, a rising populist figure in the Republican party, released a letter to the Missouri State Auditor’s office that revealed not only was he cleared of wrongdoing from an audit, but also detailed “deeply troubling” Democrat bias during the investigation against him.
American Democracy Legal Fund (ADLF), a leftist nonprofit, filed a complaint during the 2018 midterm cycle that out-of-state political consultants allegedly gave direct guidance and tasks to taxpayer-funded staff when Hawley was the state’s attorney general.
Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft ended his investigation into the claims against Sen. Hawley and cleared him of any wrongdoing in February 2019.
“Because the documents my office reviewed and the interviews conducted do not show that there is reasonable and trustworthy information that an offense has been committed a probable cause statement will not be forwarded to the local prosecutor and this investigation is closed,” Ashcroft said in February.
Even though the Missouri Secretary of State cleared then-Attorney General Hawley of wrongdoing, Democrat State Auditor Nicole Galloway said in February she will investigate the allegations against the Missouri Republican, as well as reports the then-attorney general used a state-owned car to travel to political events.
Brian Barnes, a lawyer for Sen. Hawley, notes, “investigating alleged campaign finance violations is the responsibility fo the Missouri Secretary of State, not the Missouri Auditor.”
Galloway, Missouri’s last statewide Democrat, also announced her plan to run for governor. In a video announcing her candidacy for governor, she touted her alleged corruption-fighting abilities.
The Hawley letter contended that the leftist nonprofit “falsely alleged that Mr. Hawley had used state resources to aid his U.S. Senate campaign.”
“These false allegations were heavily promoted by the Claire McCaskill campaign, including especially by her campaign manager, David Kirby,” Barnes added.
The letter contended that Hawley had “followed the established practice of past Governors, Attorneys General, and other statewide officials” regarding his use of state vehicles for travel.
However, Barnes said that he had found “deeply troubling” information” regarding the Auditor’s conduct during the investigation.
In one instance, the lead auditor assigned to investigate Hawley case, Pamela Allison, reportedly discussed “altering” the audit’s conclusions to make the audit seem more critical of the Missouri senator and his office.
The letter explained that on the same day she learned there was no “factual basis” that Hawley had neither violated confidentiality agreements nor engaged in misconduct, she wrote to colleagues in the auditor’s office, “I’m thinking I’ll just drop the confidentiality paragraph in the report and beef up the personal email/personal calendar section.”
Sen. Hawley said that’s “shocking, unethical, and perhaps illegal.”
But some pretty serious things have come to light. #1, the lead auditor on Galloway’s review openly discussed changing audit’s conclusion in order to make it more critical of me after she found no evidence of misconduct. That’s shocking, unethical, and perhaps illegal
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) January 14, 2020
Barnes wrote that while Galloway conducted the audit of Hawley’s actions, she announced her candidacy for governor and hired McCaskill’s former campaign manager, David Kirby. Barnes said the fact Galloway hired a “political operative” who personally promoted the attacks against Hawley in what is “supposed” to be an independent review of Hawley’s actions is “deeply inappropriate and potentially unethical.”
“Additionally, it calls into question whether state resources were used for political gain,” Barnes said.
“These Dem allegations were heavily promoted by McCaskill campaign manager back in 2018. But during this audit Galloway HIRED that campaign manager – as state employee. On her payroll. Senior staff. He’s still there, collecting paycheck,” Hawley wrote in a tweet.
These Dem allegations were heavily promoted by McCaskill campaign manager back in 2018. But during this audit Galloway HIRED that campaign manager – as state employee. On her payroll. Senior staff. He’s still there, collecting paycheck
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) January 14, 2020
Further, the Hawley notes that Bobby Showers, a member of the audit team, wrote recently that any senator that opposes removing President Donald Trump from office “will go down in history as not fulfilling their oath to their country.”
Sen. Hawley questioned whether Galloway turned the auditor’s office into a “giant political campaign.”
Hawley asked rhetorically, “Is it legal to change conclusions of a state audit for political gain? Read for yourself.”