Missouri Democrat Nicole Galloway helped steer a $375,000 taxpayer-funded investment to a sex-driven online forum that markets itself to 13-year-olds.
Galloway, currently the state auditor, is challenging Missouri governor Mike Parson (R.) in 2020.
Recent Stories in Politics
Before serving as auditor, she was a member of the Missouri Technology Corporation's (MTC) investment committee, which helps allocate state funds to local startups. As MTC treasurer, Galloway recommended that the board approve $375,000 in public funding for the online forum GirlsAskGuys, according to investment committee documents. Founded in 2008, the St. Louis-based start-up is described as "a platform that allows men and women to ask questions about relationships and dating to members of the opposite sex."
Prior to the investment, the site produced original content, including man-on-the-street interviews where passersby where asked about their "preferred cuddle to sex ratio," which three people they would like to "cuddle with, bang, and marry," and if there are "any sex positions that are off limits for [them]." User-submitted questions that can now be found on the forum include, "Guys, can you usually tell the difference between a cheap hoe and an expensive hoe?"; "Are you into kinky sex?"; and "Why do fat girls think they're sexually the s***?"
The website's minimum user age is just 13 years old, and the site regularly features erotic advertisements.
Though much of the forum's content is sexual in nature, the site also serves as a discussion forum for other topics, including "Canadians, why do so many still stand with Justin Trudeau?"; "Women are Patriarchal too"; and "Feminism: An Ideology Full Of Contradictions."
The MTC did not return a request for comment about its investment in the site and its vetting process.
Galloway currently serves as Missouri's chief fiscal regulator and is hoping to take back the governor's mansion from Republicans in 2020. A former MTC member who served alongside Galloway confirmed the investment committee met with GirlsAskGuys management prior to approval, and that she "did her due diligence" to become familiar with companies involved with the committee.
Galloway campaign spokesman Eric Slusher attempted to distance her from the GirlsAskGuys investment, noting that she resigned from the MTC on April 23, 2015, one day before the board granted final approval for the website investment.
Committee records show that Galloway was intimately involved with the organization's decision to approve the money, however. Two weeks before resigning, she advanced a resolution recommending the six-figure investment. Slusher defended Galloway's role in the vote, noting that it was a unanimous decision.
GirlsAskGuys did not respond to request for comment.
Former Missouri governor Jay Nixon, a two-term Democrat, appointed Galloway to MTC's board in 2013. She left the role after Nixon appointed her state auditor in 2015. During her MTC tenure, Galloway helped approve at least $225,000 in public funding towards failed companies.
The taxpayer-funded board invested $100,000 in Talariant, a biomedical engineering start-up, in April 2015. Talariant's founders shelved the company to pursue a "high-protein waffle" start-up about 18 months after the investment. She also threw her support behind a $50,000 investment in SpaceSculpt, an interior design crowdsourcing website that had not posted on its Facebook page for months even as it applied for taxpayer dollars. The company's website is now dead. Galloway also recommended $75,000 in funding for HealthyMe Mobile Solutions, a company that rebranded before ceasing operations.
Galloway has emerged as the likely Democratic nominee for governor in Missouri and will presumably face Republican governor Mike Parson in 2020. President Donald Trump, who won Missouri by nearly 20 points in 2016, endorsed Parson in September.