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Missouri auditor launches ‘transparency portal’ for coronavirus relief funds

  

Federal relief funds provided to Missouri to tackle the ongoing coronavirus pandemic can be tracked in a new online portal unveiled by the Auditor’s Office Thursday. 

The website breaks down the total amount of federal money received, how much has been expended, and what agencies and vendors come out on top, among other things. 

Missouri has received about $2.3 billion in federal aid so far, with $716 million expended, according to the website. The Office of Administration has taken in the most money at $476 million, followed by the Department of Social Services ($215 million), Department of Public Safety ($24.6 million), Department of Health and Senior Services ($117,000), and the Department of Mental Health ($750). 

State Auditor Nicole Galloway

The top vendor, as of Thursday morning, was Eclat Commerce, a medical supply company based in California. It has received $6.47 million. NMS LLC came in at No. 2 with $5.88 million, followed by Ventec Life Systems Inc. at $4.26 million. 

“Unprecedented funding is flowing through Missouri to help with coronavirus relief, and taxpayers expect to know where their money is going,” Galloway said in a statement. “With this online tool, we are offering a comprehensive way to track who is receiving funding, how much they are receiving, and what it is being used for. As we work together through this pandemic, Missourians deserve clear answers to ensure accountability and transparency.” 

On Wednesday, Gov. Mike Parson — who faces Galloway in the 2020 gubernatorial contest — announced Missouri is receiving $66 million for child care assistance and $1.5 million for food banks from the federal government. 

The Auditor’s Office is compiling the data from information gleaned from the Statewide Advantage for Missouri (SAM II) system, it said in a press release. Galloway has also been vocal about questions regarding the state’s procurement of nearly 50,000 masks from Chinese factories that Missouri recalled last month

The portal will be updated “on a regular basis,” a spokeswoman for the auditor said. The website also includes when the last update was provided. 

The Missouri Treasurer’s Office also launched a website in April “focused on the allocation of federal funds to local governments and state agencies,” a spokeswoman told The Missouri Times. It includes a breakdown of how much money Missouri has received and how it’s been divvied up among counties

Additionally, the site includes information regarding the bipartisan working group’s meetings. 

“As a business owner and a taxpayer, I want to know how the government is allocating money, and as State Treasurer, I want Missourians to know that the government is working for them,” Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, a Republican, said. “As we begin to assess the newly-released federal guidance on the use of the funding from the CARES Act, we are working to make this process as transparent as possible. My hope is that aggregating this information in one public place will allow Missouri citizens to feel confident that we are working to support our local communities and the state as a whole.” 

As of Thursday morning, there have been 9,102 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Missouri and 396 deaths.

This story has been updated. 


EDITOR’S NOTE: For up-to-date information on coronavirus, check with the CDC and DHSS.