The Missouri state legislature announced on Thursday that it would investigate Democratic state auditor Nicole Galloway's alleged misconduct during her audit of Sen. Josh Hawley's (R., Mo.) time as the state's attorney general, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Robert Ross, a Republican state representative and chairman of the state House Special Committee on Government Oversight, said in a letter to Galloway that the committee would be looking into the allegations that her office allowed politics to influence its investigation of Hawley, who publicly made the allegations through his counsel last Tuesday.
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"As a member who relies heavily on the findings of fact-based, unbiased audits that are meant to be performed by your office, I am concerned by the recent claim that political ramifications were considered in altering the conclusion of one of your recent audits," Ross wrote.
Hawley's accusation, first reported by the Washington Free Beacon, was that Galloway filled her office with partisan actors who were openly hostile to Hawley.
The accusations from Hawley center on the political nature of the audit carried out by Galloway, who announced in August that she was running for governor. [Hawley's lawyer Brian Barnes] argues that Galloway filled the auditor's office with partisan actors openly hostile to Hawley as the investigation into his office was underway, raising serious questions about the impartiality of the audit.
The chief piece of evidence presented is an email by Galloway's lead investigator on the case, Pamela Allison, in which she admits to altering the audit's conclusions. The email was inadvertently sent by Allison to a member of the attorney general's office, the letter states, and reveals that a section was removed from the audit after Allison learned Hawley was not guilty of any wrongdoing.
"Such alteration of a state audit is deeply inappropriate, unethical, and potentially a violation of state law," the letter says. "That this misconduct was committed while the auditor was herself conducting a political campaign for governor only underscores the impropriety."
"This allegation would constitute an extreme breach in the confidence the people of Missouri place in the role of your office," Ross said in his letter to Galloway. "Therefore, in holding to our mission to ensure the good people of our state can trust their government, the House of Representatives Special Committee on Government oversight will hold a hearing on January 29th to look into these claims."
Galloway's audit investigated the accusation that Hawley was using his official office to boost his 2018 campaign for U.S. Senate. The accusation came from the liberal nonprofit American Democracy Legal Fund and was used extensively by former senator Claire McCaskill during her campaign against Hawley. Galloway went on to hire McCaskill's former campaign manager David Kirby as a senior employee in the state auditor's office and accepted a $2,600 campaign contribution from McCaskill while the investigation was being carried out.
Galloway is currently running for governor of Missouri.