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Governor Parson Weighing In On Hawley’s Accusations Of Bias At Auditors Office

(MISSOURINET) This week a Missouri House committee reviewed U.S. Senator Josh Hawley’s allegations that State Auditor Nicole Galloway used “blatantly biased staff” to audit his office. Galloway, a Democrat running for governor, is having her office do an exit audit of Hawley’s office while he served as attorney general. A closeout audit of a statewide office is a standard practice by the Auditor’s Office.

In his mid-January tweets, Hawley revealed e-mails written by the Auditor’s Office in which an employee appeared to discuss changing part of the audit. Hawley released an e-mail from auditor Pam Allison which said she would “beef up” part of the audit that involved Hawley’s use of personal email/personal calendar.

During this week’s committee hearing, lawmakers learned that Galloway has a different employee heading the Hawley review. Jon Halwes, Galloway’s new audit director, says the staffing change was in response to the appearance of bias. The worker donated $50 to former Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s campaign.

During a press event Thursday, Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, says individual rights should be at the forefront.

“If you’re a state employee, if you want to support a candidate, I don’t have a problem with state employees supporting a candidate. Do I think they should carry a sign around with them to work every day doing that? Probably not,” says Parson.

“Whether somebody contributes to a candidate or not, I don’t have a problem with that. I probably have a problem if it affects the job they’re doing and if they’re using it for political gain. I’ve got a real problem with that.”

Halwes says he has not found any bias in the audit. He says the office has four levels of review and the layers would make it impossible to release a biased audit. Halwes went on to say that he’s voted Republican most of his life and it does not impact his work of being independent.

During a different Missouri House committee hearing this week, Galloway told the lawmakers that they should reserve judgement until they review the audit for themselves. The audit is not finished yet, but Galloway expects it to be released in the coming weeks.

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