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Galloway alleges transportation issues in Hawley’s AG office in new audit

   

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley “did not maintain complete and accurate vehicle usage logs” while serving as Missouri’s attorney general, according to a new audit from State Auditor Nicole Galloway

The audit, released Friday, covered Hawley’s time in office from January 2017 to January 2019, pointing out what it found to be faulty records for 28 trips along and alleging problems with the office’s efforts to minimize travel costs and document expenses. 

The audit also said it found a lack of written interaction between some outside counsel and expert witnesses, a lack of established policies and procedures for accounts receivable collections and records, and problems around procedures for payroll and capital assets. It found two cases of incorrect payment in the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) over the two-year timeframe. 

The final grade given to Hawley’s office in the audit was a “fair” rating, the second-lowest. 

Hawley’s office directed The Missouri Times to a rebuttal by Hawley’s attorney, Brian Barnes, which was included in the audit.

“Every penny counts, which is why Josh Hawley did so much as attorney general to save taxpayers millions of dollars a year,” Barnes said. “The audit uncovered no evidence of mismanagement or fraud or illegal activity, and the report’s bottom line is that the office was reasonably managed during Attorney General Hawley’s tenure. Although the auditor has been inexcusably dilatory in concluding this report, 18 full months after Attorney General Josh Hawley left the office, the result is proof yet again of a promise kept to Missouri’s taxpayers.”

Hawley, a Republican, also offered a rebuttal on Twitter

“Not a single one of her audits has found any wrongdoing while I was AG,” Hawley said. “But she meanwhile has consistently used her office for political and campaign purposes, including committing a felony violation earlier this year. Nov. 3 is judgment day.”

The Auditor’s Office conducts closeout audits when an officeholder leaves their position. 

Galloway’s audit is the latest move in the pair’s public feud. Hawley accused Galloway of political bias in February after her office released a 162-page partial audit of his time in office. The audit drew criticism from Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt the following day. Schmitt’s office pointed to a state statute that requires audits and related materials to remain confidential. 

“We have grave concerns about the irreparable harm this audit could have on the Auditor’s Office and good government in general, and we will cooperate with any investigations into this matter,” Schmitt said. 

The partial audit said Hawley had a “questionable use of state resources.” That included utilizing a state vehicle for political purposes or in a way that “had the appearance of being personal in nature,” the audit said.

Immediately after the audit was released, Hawley released a statement saying he had been “exonerated.” 

In a January letter to Pamela Allison, a supervisory manager at the Auditor’s Office, Hawley’s attorney alleged “deeply troubling information … about the Auditor’s own conduct during” the audit. The letter accused Allison, specifically, of altering the audit to “beef up” the content. 

Hawley’s attorney also criticized Galloway for hiring former U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s campaign manager during the “pendency” of the audit. (McCaskill was Hawley’s Democratic opponent in the race for the U.S. Senate seat.) 

Hawley was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018 after serving as Missouri’s attorney general for two years. Galloway has served in her capacity since 2015 and won the Democratic nomination for Missouri governor in Tuesday’s primary election

Galloway is the Democratic nominee for governor, facing Republican Gov. Mike Parson this fall. 

Read the full audit below.

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