JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Cole County Circuit Court is expected to hear the case between the Missouri Alliance for Freedom (MAF) and Auditor Nicole Galloway on Friday. MAF filed a lawsuit in June against the Missouri Auditor and Sen. Rob Schaaf for allegedly violating the Sunshine Law.
Judge Jon Beetem will be hearing the case against Auditor Galloway tomorrow at the Division 1 Courtroom at the Cole County Court House at 1:00 pm. The case against Schaaf has yet to be assigned a date or a case number.
The conservative group is suing Auditor Galloway over documents related to her subpoena of the Department of Revenue. She filed a subpoena in April as a part of an audit to determine how the Department was managing income tax refunds. The Department eventually submitted the information to the auditor’s office, but only after her subpoena.
MAF sent a Sunshine Law request to the Auditor’s Office in May asking for records relating to her decision to audit the Department of Revenue, as well as the audit itself. It also asked for communications between Galloway’s employees Paul Harper and Douglas Nelson. She responded by releasing three letters of her employees’ communication and said that other information “relating to the Audit of the Department of Revenue,” Galloway’s letter in May to the MAF said was “confidential under Sections 29.070, 29.200.17, 32.057, 610.021(14), and 610.021(17), RSMo.”
The MAF filed a petition in court in July, claiming that Galloway’s assertion of confidentiality is “overbroad,” saying that Missouri’s legal statues do not cover “records relating to your decision to audit the timeliness of the Department’s issuance of tax refunds.”
At the time of the initial audit, she blamed Governor Greitens.
“The governor and his Department of Revenue are not being transparent with taxpayers,” Galloway said in April at a press conference. “If the new administration intends to operate behind a wall of secrecy, I will use the full authority of my office to ensure transparency and accountability.”
MAF was founded in 2013 and its president is Kristen Blanchard Ansley, who formerly served the executive director of the Republican Party in Missouri. The group has been involved in advocating for right-to-work and anti-PDMP legislation. Todd Graves, partner of law firm Graves Garrett – the firm representing the MAF – is the chairman of the GOP in Missouri.
The petition is available below.
Michael Layer is a reporter for the Missouri Times and the Missouri Times Magazine. He joined the Missouri Times in August 2017 after graduating from Goucher College the previous May. To contact Michael, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @_MichaelLayer