JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Jan. 14, 2019) In remarks given after she was sworn in for a second term as Missouri's 38th State Auditor, Auditor Nicole Galloway today reaffirmed her office's fight against public corruption. As part of that renewed commitment, Galloway announced she is directing increased resources towards investigations of fraud and abuse in government in a newly created Public Corruption and Fraud Division (PCFD) within the State Auditor's Office.
Missouri Supreme Court Mary R. Russell administered the oath of office to the incumbent Auditor in a public ceremony held in the State Capitol rotunda. Galloway, elected in November to a second term, was accompanied by members of her family, including her husband, Jon, and their three sons.
"It is my job to tell Missourians who is corrupting our government, and to hold the powerful accountable to the people of this state," Auditor Galloway said after being sworn in. "Each time we expose corruption and abuse, it makes an impact. It puts others on notice that their wrongdoing will see the light of day."
By focusing additional resources on fighting public corruption through the PCFD, the Auditor's office can more effectively address whistleblower complaints regarding abuse in local government.
"This division will have dedicated auditors and attorneys, law enforcement professionals, forensic auditing specialists and certified fraud examiners," the Auditor said. "My team will have the tools, resources and expertise to expose wrongdoing. As a certified fraud examiner myself, I am committed to creating the strongest and most robust public corruption force the state has ever seen."
Auditor Galloway's complete remarks can be found here.
The changes in the office will also allow the State Auditor's Office more flexibility to respond directly to significant concerns identified in counties that do not have a county auditor. As required under state law, third-class counties receive a financial audit every four years.
Auditor Galloway says since taking office in 2015, her audits have resulted in 38 criminal charges against public officials. Most recently, an audit of the City of Winona found $42,000 missing and resulted in felony charges against the former city clerk. Auditors also assisted the Attorney General's Office in an investigation of the City of Greenville, which revealed more than $160,00 in missing funds. Criminal charges were filed against the former city clerk. Also this fall, the former county collector in Callaway County pleaded guilty in federal court to theft. An audit revealed more than $300,000 was stolen over a period of more than two years.
In November 2017, the State Auditor's Office upgraded the office's internal system to more efficiently and comprehensively track contacts to the Whistleblower Hotline. In 2018, the Hotline received 831 contacts through calls, emails and web submissions.
In some cases, whistleblower contacts result in audits which have led to the filing of criminal charges and the convictions of public officials. Investigations that don't lead to audits also have brought about changes beneficial to taxpayers after Auditor's office staff have reached out to public officials to make them aware of problems that can be resolved quickly.
Auditor Galloway said if Missourians have information regarding government waste, fraud and abuse, they may provide it for consideration to the State Auditor's Whistleblower Hotline at 800-347-8597 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Under the law, whistleblowers have the option to remain anonymous.